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Edwards Must Scramble to Save Face

Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards has more questions than answers at the moment.

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards may soon wish he only had 99 problems, similar to Jay-Z.

Thursday saw ASU's top two players in linebacker Eric Gentry and receiver Ricky Pearsall dash into the transfer portal.

Reasons given from media outlets as to why the two decided to leave Arizona State conflict with each other. 

Devils Digest initially reported both departures were strictly due to NIL possibilities elsewhere, while SunDevilSource states (at least on behalf of Pearsall) it was "97% football related". 

Reasons can be whatever they like, but the reality is Arizona State lost a freshman All-American linebacker and their most productive offensive player. 

When quarterback Jayden Daniels transferred, Edwards said he and his staff were prepared

"You got to see this coming. I didn't sit here lost and not seeing it coming. I knew it was coming. I knew free agency was coming. How do you deal with it? And so, we were prepared to deal with it. We brought in some pretty good players in my opinion," said Edwards. 

Do we think Edwards was prepared for what was to come?

He even mentioned the potential problems NIL deals would cause, perhaps foreshadowing ASU's own fate.

He said, "This (the transfer portal) is a little bit of a mess, and I think it will find its way. I'm not even going to talk about the other part (NIL). I won't even touch that one. Then you have even more problems. You know what I'm talking about. You have to (embrace it). You can get it fixed. You can fix it. If you need a veteran guy, there's a guy out there. And these guys are smart. They look at schools and go, 'Oh, they might need this guy.' And sometimes they call you. It's just a lot, it's interesting to say the least. It's very interesting."

Now, the Sun Devils have lost a total of 13 players since November of last year and tout a historically bad recruiting class to help make up the deficit. 

In over four months, Arizona State will begin the 2022 season. There's little doubt that Edwards will still be at the helm, and most of his roster will still be intact (hopefully). 

However, for a team that already had vast questions as to what they could produce on the field, the Sun Devils enter next year with some of the greatest uncertainty in quite some time. 

Will ASU rely on their young depth to step up to the plate? Is there any talent remaining in the transfer portal that would want to come to Arizona State and be capable of making an impact? 

Following ASU's spring showcase, Edwards said the team had "about seven or eight" scholarships ready to use. 

He'll have to hit on nearly every one of those transfer grabs.

At this point, the long game can no longer be played. Thursday's news was just the cherry on top of a long list of outside factors that now force Edwards to produce high results in order to justify his presence beyond 2022. 

Many will say Edwards was already on the hot seat, but now his departure appears to be imminent. 

Of course, he will have the opportunity to first lead his team on the field and produce. After all, winning fixes everything. 

Yet, the chances of Arizona State winning enough for Edwards to remain in a position of power appear low. Despite his deep connections, Edwards has run out of house money to play with. 

The Sun Devils are now in this mess even deeper, and it's up to Edwards to figure a way out the hole he and his staff have done such a superb job of digging the last four years. 

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