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Five Sun Devils Named to Preseason All-Pac-12 Teams

The preseason All-Pac-12 first and second teams as well as honorable mentions have been announced and five Arizona State Sun Devils were mentioned.

The Sun Devils football program has five players listed on the preseason All-Pac-12 lists, with one on the first team, two on the second team and two honorable mentions.

First-Team All-Pac-12: D.J. Taylor, return specialist

Taylor, who is averaging 25.1 yards per kickoff return in his career, has shown the ability to break "the big one" when given an opportunity to explode. As a freshman, Taylor averaged 34.9 yards per kickoff return, including a 100-yard touchdown against the in-state rival Arizona Wildcats. Taylor regressed as a sophomore, however, dropping down to 21.9 yards per kickoff return thanks to difficulty hanging onto the football and making poor decisions on his returns. If Taylor can return to his freshman-year form, Arizona State has themselves a deadly playmaker.

Second-Team All-Pac-12: LaDarius Henderson, guard

Henderson was named honorable mention in 2021 after a marvelous year for the then-junior guard. In 2021, Henderson started all 13 games at left guard, missing all but 12 snaps during the season. Henderson allowed only 10 quarterback pressures during the season, which placed him tied for fourth-fewest in the conference and top-50 in all of FBS. If Henderson can repeat his performance in 2022, the Sun Devils will continue to run the ball at will after averaging over 200 rushing yards per game a season ago and could even build some NFL draft stock.

Second-Team All-Pac-12: Merlin Robertson, linebacker

Robertson finished third in total tackles in 2021 with 64 while also tying for the team lead in interceptions with three. In his four seasons with the Sun Devils, Robertson has amassed 235 career tackles to go with 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. His finest season came as a freshman when he recorded career highs in tackles (77), tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). Although Robertson has maintained consistency over the years as a solid linebacker for the Sun Devils, a return to his freshman year form would place Robertson as one of the best linebackers in the conference.

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Honorable mention: Xazavian Valladay, running back

The incoming transfer from Wyoming, Valladay has garnered some serious hype for his first season with the Sun Devils. Valladay was named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, handed out to the nation's top running back. Arizona State will certainly be hoping that the two-time 1,000-yard rusher will continue his production and success in his first season in Tempe and has a great chance to be the lead back for the Sun Devils in 2022.

Honorable mention: Kyle Soelle, linebacker

Soelle was Arizona State's leading tackler a year ago with 88 while tacking on eight tackles for loss and a sack. With the departure of second leading tackler Darien Butler to the NFL, Soelle will compete primarily with Roberston for big-time tackling numbers and could flirt with breaking into the triple digits in 2022. Should Soelle find a way to pull it off, he could build a solid case for appearing on an All-Pac-12 team. It certainly won't hurt his case that he is likely to have a significant leadership role on the defense.