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Sun Devils Could Field Potent Rushing Attack in 2022

A strength of the Sun Devils football team in 2021 could be as explosive or perhaps more so in 2022.

The Arizona State Sun Devils will be featuring a practically unrecognizable offense in terms of returning players in 2022 following an exodus of starters via the NCAA Transfer Portal and the 2022 NFL Draft.

Gone are three-year starting quarterback Jayden Daniels and running backs Rachaad White and DeaMonte "Chip" Trayanum from what was a potent rushing attack in 2021. The passing attack may not have been as effective, but the top four receivers from 2021, including wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, are also gone from the program.

The Sun Devils were prepared to enter 2022 with complete inexperience at quarterback with the initial options of Trenton Bourguet and Alabama transfer Paul Tyson combining for just 28 career pass attempts. The running back room returned Daniyel Ngata for his third season in Tempe and brought in Wyoming transfer and two-time 1,000-yard runner Xazavien Valladay to help mitigate the losses of White and Trayanum.

On the surface, Ngata and Valladay would be the Sun Devils' answer to the departures of White and Trayanum, but replacing Daniels’ 710 rushing yards seemed improbable. However, when former Florida quarterback Emory Jones announced his intentions to transfer to Arizona State, that hole suddenly felt filled.

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Jones is coming off a season where he led the Gators in rushing yards with 759 and has proven throughout his career to be a dangerous runner at the quarterback spot. This bodes nicely for the Sun Devils, who saw Daniels emerge as an elite runner in 2021.

With Jones seemingly able to pick up the pace where Daniels left off, Arizona State once again has the makings of a very good ground attack in 2022.

The Sun Devils will likely need that run game to power their offense this year with an unproven and unfamiliar receiving corps in place. Returning receivers Andre Johnson and Bryan Thompson combined for just over 300 receiving yards in 2021, and the two have a lot to prove in 2022. Incoming transfer wide receiver Cam Johnson showed some prowess during his four seasons at Vanderbilt, but he will also need to prove he can acclimate to a new offense quickly after missing spring practices.

With an onus on the ground game needing to be the main focal point of the offense, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the unit produce some gaudy numbers to show it’s capable of picking up the slack for the rest of the offense. With three exciting runners and some other intriguing depth guys like Deonce Elliott and Tevin White, the Sun Devils may have themselves a ferocious rushing attack during the 2022 season.