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Edwards on Jayden Daniels, State of Program

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards made public comments for the first time since losing five assistant coaches and quarterback Jayden Daniels.

There's no denying the spotlight Arizona State has fallen under in recent months. 

The microscope into ASU's football program has been ever-present since the Sun Devils had five assistant coaches depart the team, although the most recent (and shocking) headline made was quarterback Jayden Daniels' entrance into the transfer portal. 

Talk surrounding Arizona State has mostly been fixated on head coach Herm Edwards, who is entering his fifth season in Tempe. Edwards, in the face of an investigation launched by the NCAA along with subpar performances on the field, has had to answer for the current state of ASU. 

Edwards hadn't spoken publicly since he lost both coordinators and starting quarterback, yet that changed when 98.7's Bickley and Marotta brought Edwards on their show Tuesday.

"Well, (there's a) lot of energy in the building, actually," said Edwards when asked about his feelings of the team heading into spring practice. 

"Last Saturday morning, right about 8:30, LaDarius (Henderson), he had eight offensive linemen out there (practicing). We had a lot of new guys on the offensive line ’cause we went into the portal and decided to try to build our team that way. (They) were out there and working. When you see that, you just kind of smile. You say, ‘OK, I see the intent of these guys and the focus of this football team, which has been very, very good.’

"We’re excited about the opportunity and the adding of 25 new players, 16 of those guys new additions in the spring. A lot of those guys as you know came from the portal or (junior college) or grad transfer. We’re excited with the team that we’ve assembled."

The transfer portal has been of great assistance for Arizona State, which has welcomed more than 10 players from various colleges. The portal has been nothing short of a necessity for an Arizona State team that touts one of the worst-ranked recruiting classes in the country. 

"Our path is real simple," Edwards continued. "Even before this transpired, we were going to go into the portal because — it’s the free agency into college football. And when you lose as many players we were going to lose — we had 22 seniors that were going to leave based on the COVID guys (who) came back — when we looked at our football team we said, 'You know what, we’re going to have to go into the portal, get about 15 to 16 portal players and fill the rest of the roster with the high-school players.'

"We got about four scholarships left that we’re going to dabble in the portal . . .  we brought in some guys that have a lot of experience, especially on the offensive line, the tight-end position, at the running-back position, the secondary, that have played football at programs.

"There’s a new thing that goes along with the portal guys, the name image and likeness. I will say this: I think eventually it’ll work its way out, but they’re going to have to put a cap on it. It’s going to be very difficult for a lot of schools to deal in that world."

Edwards also addressed the outside noise from fans and media who believe the team's current trajectory isn't satisfactory.

He said. "I think this as a coach: You realize your No. 1 priority is your team. I’ve always had that mindset. It’s the players in your building and the people in your building. I know this: We’re excited about the players we’ve brought in here; they’re excited about being part of the program.

"The team that is here with a lot of veteran guys are excited about the guys we’ve brought in. Really, they’re in meetings this morning. We’re moving on. We’re getting ready for spring football and getting prepared to figure out how this thing’s going to shake out. Going to be a lot of different positions in for competitions because there’s new guys, obviously the quarterback room will be that way. It’s going to be fun to watch."

Edwards, again asked about Daniels, offered this to say on if he was surprised by his decision to enter the transfer portal:

"Well, I do know this: Anyone that decides to leave this program for whatever reason, they have the ability to do that now with the portal. I’ve said this and I did this in pro football as well. When you have minicamp sometimes and the veterans don’t show up ’cause of the contracts or whatever, you don’t talk about the guys that aren’t here.

"You just talk about the players that are here. That’s just my mindset . . . That’s just only fair to the players who are here working every day."