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ASU Football: Wide receivers shine in spring game

(Photo: Blaine McCormick/WCSN)

ASU football wrapped up 15 practices with a spring scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday.

The starters dressed in the maroon uniforms and blew out the second team dressed in white 60 -3.

The Sun Devils started the afternoon competing in seven-on-seven, W-drills, one-on-ones and concluded with a live scrimmage.

With the help of an eight-yard touchdown from senior running back Kalen Ballage, the maroon team scored during the first drive.

The running back position displayed great versatility with seniors Ballage and Demario Richard. Arizona State running back coach John Simon mentioned how excited he is for the duo’s final rodeo.

“The biggest things for those guys is just to continue to work on the details,” Simon said. “It’s time for them take the things they have learned, the coaching that they received and just begin to grown into their own. Coaching can only go so far but the great ones have to be willing to take further on their own. I’m excited, they both have been committed to asking how they can be better.”

The wide receiver group is among the deepest and showed how special they can potentially be in Pac-12 play at the spring game. Standout sophomore receiver N’Keal Harry was sidelined due to some nagging injuries.

Despite the absent Harry, redshirt sophomore John Humphrey caught a total of three touchdowns during the scrimmage. In addition, junior Jalen Harvey and Ryan Newsome caught passes for touchdowns.

Co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Rob Likens noted the core had a solid performance as the maroon team didn’t have any dropped balls.

“It was good to see them make plays,” Likens said. “It was the first time in front of a big crowd and receivers have a tendency to get a little excited but it was good to see that we caught everything.”

Coming into the spring practices there was a quarter back battle between four players. Through 14 spring practices junior Manny Wilkins and Alabama transfer Blake Barnett solidified themselves as the front-runners.

This afternoon Wilkins displayed great poise under center, throwing four touchdowns and getting into the end zone with his feet during the scrimmage.

“I think the team has done great all spring,” Wilkins said. “With coach Napier, I have just learned to be more patient. I have a year under my belt now. It’s a different game for me right now, so I’m just enjoying it every single day and taking advantage of my opportunity.”

Even though the defense was without some key contributors, they had a strong performance allowing just three points.

Maurice Chandler, a defensive back, came up with the only turnover of the game off a Dillon Sterling-Cole pass. Chandler took a 65-yard interception to the house for the Maroon squad.

ASU head coach Todd Graham said this year’s team has potential.

“I like this team,” Graham said. “It’s not about the talent, it’s about the team. These guys have been very discipline this spring; I think we have gotten better. We have to have a great summer program and we have a lot of work to do.”

Following the spring game, the Sun Devils held their Youth Experience and fans were allowed to come on the field and get autographs from their favorite players.

Arizona State will host New Mexico State at Sun Devils Stadium on August 31 for its season opener.

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