Players to Watch – Arizona State Sun Devils


Nov. 23, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA: Arizona State Sun Devils linebacker Carl Bradford celebrates on the sidelines in fourth quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Devils were one of three Pac 12 South teams with a new head coach in 2012 with Todd Graham taking over after a surprise departure from Pitt. Graham brought in his high octane offense which saw that Sun Devils average 459 yard per game. The Sun Devils return the core of their offense and the strength of their defense in an improving Pac 12 South.

#87 – Chris Coyle – TE/H-Back
6’2” – 224 lbs. – SR

The Sun Devils offense is up tempo offense with multiple formations which Coyle is utilized in a variety of different spots. He will play inline, as a full back, or as an H-Back depending on the formation and play. Coyle finished third in the nation for tight ends with 4.38 receptions per game during the 2012 season. He started all 12 games in the 2012 season at the tight end position for the Sun Devils.

Strengths – Coyle has a strong thick build from his legs to his upper body that allows him to get under defenders when blocking. He uses his hands very well to engage the defenders while keeping great balance with his feet underneath him and a wide base. When running routes, he has great hands and has awareness when running his routes of where the defense is at and what they are playing creating throwing lanes for the quarterback.

Weakness – Coyle is not in the mold of the new tight ends coming to the league that has size and athleticism to cause mismatches outside versus smaller defenders. He is not an explosive athlete that will cause defensive coordinators to scheme around. When attacking the second level as a blocker, Coyle tends to get off balance and lunge more than settle when blocking.

Overall – Coyle’s production in his senior season is looking to be on the rise after an impressive spring game which he had seven catches for 82 yards and three touchdowns. Albeit against his fellow teammates, it shows the importance that Coyle will have with the Sun Devils this year. Coyle isn’t a tight end that will “wow” anyone watching him play with over the top athleticism but he is a gritty player that produces when he is on the field.

#52 – Carl Bradford – OLB
6’1” – 241 lbs. – JR

Bradford had a monster season alongside All American Will Sutton on the Sun Devils defense where he compiled 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss during the 2012 season. He played a variety of different positions for the Sun Devils in the 2012 season where he was used at defensive end, outside linebacker, and even time at middle linebacker. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Bradford was selected as part of the All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention team.

Strengths – Bradford is an athletic freak off the field that translates to the field where he displays raw power, strength, and speed. From the edge, he has the strength to get underneath the offensive lineman pushing into the backfield. He has the athletic ability to be moved to linebacker and play in space. Bradford has great explosion off the line after the snap putting pressure on slower lineman to move their feet to gain control.

Weakness – Bradford is the epitome of a power player and needs to learn to play with some finesse at times and control. He will get himself out of position by taking on blocks squarely instead of playing assignment football. In space, he has tight hips when needed to drop in pass coverage which will be a key transition when moving on to the next level.

Overall – Bradford is a player that will make you bring your lunch box to the field each and every play. He is used as the “DevilBacker” in the Arizona State defensive scheme where he is asked to move around to a variety of positions and has shown the ability to make plays from all over the field. His aggressive style of play puts pressure on blockers trying to keep up with his non-stop motor and his impressive combination of strength, power, and speed that Bradford possesses.