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Sun Devils Patient but Ready for Harrison's Potential to Unfold

Robby Harrison's potential is just waiting to be unleashed at Arizona State.

TEMPE -- Arizona State freshman defensive lineman Robby Harrison has been a full participant in all of ASU's spring practices, trying to piece together the complexities of playing on a college defensive line. 

Sun Devils defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez says Harrison, who enrolled at Arizona State early so he could practice with ASU in the spring, admits the learning curve might be steep for a young man who would normally be in geometry class.

"He should be getting ready for his prom here in a couple of weeks," joked Rodriguez. 

Harrison is a reserved young man, who has been the focal point for Rodriguez and fellow assistant coach Shannon Forman through the first few days of Arizona State's spring practice. 

Harrison is often coached extra with more emphasis on ensuring he understands what's required of him. It's fair for a player, who normally wouldn't have received his diploma for another two months, to not master everything the Sun Devils throw at him immediately.

"I really love it because the older guys teach me the game, I know I can go to them any time I want. They're very helpful," Harrison told reporters. 

Veterans along the defensive line have taken Harrison under their guidance, knowing the potential he carries. Don't let his charismatic yet reserved presence fool you; there's a beast waiting to be unlocked within. 

Rodriguez knows it more than anyone. 

He said, "Let me say something about Robby, okay? That dude is one of the strongest young men I've ever been around. That dude, I slapped him on the shoulder the other day to give him an 'atta boy!' and I almost broke my finger slapping him on the shoulder. This dude is made of granite up top.

"He's got good feet. The only thing that slows him down is the reaction time. I'll tell you like this. Tell me he doesn't look a lot like (ASU sophomore defensive lineman) Gharin Stansbury did last fall. It's the same thing. These guys come from a (lower) level, they come out here and the last thing they saw in front of them was a high- school kid, they were probably bigger, stronger, faster. That changes like (snaps finger) that. So Robby's gonna be just fine. Robby is that baby doberman."

Earlier in his press conference, Rodriguez compared Stansbury to a doberman in how he's grown. Stansbury, who once entered Arizona State with a small frame, is now filling it out and looking the part of what coaches picture their ideal defensive lineman to look like. 

While it's early, Harrison is well on his way down the same path. 

"I'm telling you, his ceiling is so high. He's such a good kid, and he's naturally tough. He was a state champion in wrestling. Just a good kid and the guys love him and he's funny as heck. If you're ever around him; get him talking. But the guys love him, they think he's gonna be really special. I do too. I think he's got a bright future," said Rodriguez, who admits he's in no rush to bring Harrison along for the ride.

"The thing is, he's just so young and it's happening so fast. But let's let the thing naturally progress. Let's let him get some weight on his quads and his hands where you can really sit in a stance and be comfortable. Obviously, I'm the first person to really ask him to be in a coordinated, balanced stance. It's different at the high-school level; it's about getting off the ball but you can be off balance a little bit, be too heavy and you'll be fine. This level and definitely at the next level you have to be balanced on your feet. 

"He's gonna be just fine. You're gonna love him on game day because he's gonna run through a wall and won't think twice about it. Not a lot of ego, a lot of potential. Good stuff (from Robby thus far)."

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