WR Daryl Lightfoot
Coach: Dirk Koetter
12-13, 2 years
2002 Record: 8-6
at Nebraska LOST 10-48
at San Diego State WON 39-28
at Oregon WON 45-42
at Washington State LOST 22-44
at Southern Cal LOST 13-34
at Arizona WON 34-20
Kansas State LOST 27-34

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Even with the departure of their two top players, the Sun Devils have enough talent to make a run at Pasadena. With sixteen returning starters and a roster full of savvy veterans, Arizona State is primed for one of their most successful seasons in years.

Leading the way will be preseason All-American candidate QB Andrew Walter. Though he will be without his favorite target (Shaun McDonald), he has the poise and talent to lead the Sun Devils near the top of the Pac-10. Whether or not the jump to the top of the conference is made will depend heavily on the defense. Seven starters do return, but they will have to improve without Terrell Suggs. The LB corps will make or break this defense, just as the OL's run production will make or break the offense.

Testing the will of this veteran team will be a brutal schedule rivaling that of any other in the country. Early season trips to Iowa and Oregon State, followed by home games against Southern Cal and Oregon, give the Sun Devils four bowl-opponents and two BCS teams in their first five games. Their fate will be set by this time. Even emerging with one competitive loss should place this team into the Top 15.

While a tough schedule and the daunting task of replacing two of the conference's top players loom waiting, Head Coach Dirk Koetter and the Sun Devils can be a/the team to watch in the Pac-10. A strong returning class and a hint of carried-over optimism have fans in Tempe hoping to at least smell the roses. Look for a repeat flow of 2002, with a shaky start and an even stronger finish.

Projected 2003 record: 9-3
QB Andrew Walter
LB Jamar Williams
LB Justin Burks
QB - 4.5 DL - 4
RB - 3 LB - 2.5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 4.5 ..

Passing: Andrew Walter, 483-247-15, 3877 yds., 28 TD's

Rushing: Cornell Canidate, 130 att., 493 yds., 7 TD's

Receiving: Daryl Lightfoot, 40 rec., 552 yds., 2 TD's

Scoring: Hakim Hill, 9 TD's, 54 pts.

Punting: Tim Parker, 79 punts, 42.7 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Jason Shivers, 121 tot., 66 solo

Sacks: Jimmy Verdon, 4 sacks; Nick Johnson, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Brett Hudson, 4 for 66 yds.

Kickoff returns: Hakim Hill, 32 ret., 21.9 avg.

Punt returns: Daryl Lightfoot, 22 ret., 7.2 avg.


P Tim Parker
OFFENSE: Mike Pinkard-TE, Mike Barth-K, Shaun McDonald-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Mason Unck-LB, Solomon Bates-LB, Josh Amobi-LB, Alfred Williams-S, Terrell Suggs-DE (NFL)

With nine starters returning to this lethal offense, the Arizona State Sun Devils will field one of the more potent attacks in the entire country. It all starts under center. Junior QB Andrew Walter will look to improve upon his impressive sophomore season, and start his All-American campaign in Tempe. As a first year starter, his 3,877 yards passing and 28 TDs ranked him 2nd in the Pac-10and ASU 19th in all I-A. He topped the 400-yard mark four different times. He is a gritty young quarterback and his laudable performance against the dominant Kansas State defense in last season's Holiday Bowl epitomizes the aggressive attitude that this Sun Devil offense still employs.

The return of all five offensive linemen adds to this promise. Seniors Regis Crawford, Tim Fa'aita and Tony Aguilar will anchor this battle-tested group and provide vital leadership. Junior guard Drew Hodgdon played well and will be a key performer on the inside of the line. Rounding out the group will be sophomore Chaz White. He will be the lone underclassman on a line full of veteran leaders. Running was an offensive challenge - their work is well cut out after only earning 2.5 yards-per-carry. How this bunch performs on the ground against the elite teams in the conference will dictate how successful this offense will be, and therefore the entire team.

Finding a go to receiver will be a top offseason priority. The loss of steady TE Mike Pinkard also leaves a void. Pinkard was one of Walter's favorite downfield targets and, like McDonald, he was a reliable threat to score. How Walter reacts with his two favorite targets gone is a legitimate concern and one that Arizona State will have to address. At wide receiver, Daryl Lightfoot, Skyler Fulton and Derek Hagan top the returning crew. Walter's three young receivers each caught 30 or more passes, but none play at McDonald's level. The headliner is Lightfoot. Despite not playing in a couple of games, his 85-yard touchdown reception was their longest offensive play of 2002. He is a speedster and, though undersized, he has the ability to break a game wide open at anytime. Fulton is a possession-type receiver who runs routes well with even surer hands. He and Hagan will try to replace the departed McDonald by committee.

Complimenting the passing game will be a ground attack that returns their top three rushers. The trio of Mike Williams, Cornell Canidate and Hakim Hill combined for the nation's 111th ranked ground game. In 2002, teams were surprised by State, not a luxury this campaign. They could throw enough to compensate for this running lull. Williams has been a steady runner throughout his career, but he will have to become more intimately involved in carrying the offense when needed. Sophomore Hakim Hill is a great receiver as well, and his flexibility makes him a dual threat. While the Sun Devil offense was most effective through the air in 2002, the return of these three rushers, combined with the return of two-year starter Mike Karney at fullback, ensures that the ground game will be a more integral part of the offense in 2003.


QB Andrew Walter


Returning Starters in bold
QB Andrew Walter-Jr Chad Christensen-So
FB Mike Karney-Sr Mike Talbot-So
TB Mike Williams-Sr Cornell Canidate-Fr
WR Daryl Lightfoot-Jr Derek Hagan-So
WR Skyler Fulton-Sr Matt Miller-So
TE Lee Burghgraef-So Aaron Austin-Jr
OT Chaz White-So Andrew Carnahan-Fr
OG Tim Fa'aita-Sr Adrian Ayala-Jr
C Drew Hodgdon-Jr Tony Aguilar-Sr
OG Regis Crawford-Sr Zach Krula-Fr
OT Grayling Love-So Stephen Berg-Fr
K Jessie Ainsworth-Fr Tim Parker-Sr



After allowing nearly 30 points per game in 2002, the Sun Devil defense will look to improve their 57th ranked total defense. With experience under their belt, the seven returning starters look to improve with added depth in both the secondary and along their defensive line.

Leading the way will be the secondary, where the Sun Devils' top four corners return and leading tackler Jason Shivers returns at free safety. Accounting for 121 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries, Shivers was one of the silent leaders of the 2002 defense. He is a tackling machine who excels at stopping the run, too. He will have to take on an even larger load this season. R.J. Oliver, the team's top cover-corner, led the team with 18 pass breakups and added four interceptions as a sophomore. He is an emerging star and should be a key ingredient to supply the synergy of team play. Both players should challenge for All-Conference honors in 2003. JUCO transfer Brett Hudson is a playmaker at safety. After playing 2002, his first season of Division I football, he will now be even more of a threat. Sophomore Matt Fawley will man the other safety spot; he has star potential. Versatile Reccardo Stewart returns as well, and adds more experience to a talented Sun Devil secondary.

Three starters return along the defensive line for Arizona State and should form a strong front four. Jimmy Verdon is a steady presence at defensive end, and, with the omission of Terrell Suggs, becomes a valuable asset. While depth and experience at linebacker are almost non- existent, Jamal Williams looks to be a potential star. Junior college All-American Justin Burke will help as well.

The obvious concern is how to replace first team All-American, also Lombardi and Nagurski award winner, Terrell Suggs. He led the nation with 24 sacks and was the heart and soul of the defense. Replacing his pass rushing ability and intimidating presence will be impossible. While LBs Soloman Bates and Mason Unck didn't receive the hype that Suggs did, their importance to the team was as significant. They left, too. Their departure, combined with that of reserve LB Josh Amobi, removes all experienced depth and leaves ASU very thin at linebacker. The Sun Devils' 4-2-5 basic defensive scheme will give the young linebackers time to develop, but in a league as fast-paced as the Pac-10, they better grow up quickly. The departure of safety Alfred Williams doesn't help. One idea - until the LBs are sure of themselves, an extra floating DB like Shavers should permanently commit to the box for help.


FS Jason Shivers


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jimmy Verdon-Jr Rickey Parker-Fr
DT Brian Montesanto-Sr Gabe Reininger-Jr
DT Shane Jones-Sr Ali Likio-Fr
DE Nick Johnson-So Connor Banks-Jr
LB Jamar Williams-So Barton Hammit-So
LB Justin Burks-Jr Jordan Hill-Fr
CB R.J. Oliver-Jr Mike Davis-So
CB Josh Golden-So Emmanuel Franklin-Jr
S Riccardo Stewart-Jr Joey Smith-So
S Brett Hudson-Sr Lamar Baker-So
FS Jason Shivers-Jr Matt Fawley-So
P Tim Parker-Sr ..



Punter Tim Parker was among the best in the conference. His 42.7-yard (36.1 team net) average helped ASU win the field-position battle. He will be a key weapon who can also place-kick. Hakim Hill, Daryl Lightfoot and Josh Golden should be the top kick returners. They give the Sun Devils three legitimate threats on special teams. Coverage was decent in 2002, something that may change if the kicking game doesn't produce.

Finding a replacement for kicker Mike Barth will be crucial. Nobody on the ASU roster, besides Parker, returns with any kicking experience. Something has to give here - State will lose games due to special team's deficiencies if these areas are not tightened up by fall.


The offensive line has a comfortable amount of depth, as seven players are vying for starting positions. The Sun Devils may be able to rotate linemen in throughout the course of a game, which will keep them fresh and keep Andrew Walter off his back… Hakim Hill was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules and it is unknown as to when (or if) he will return. With his loss, and starter Mike Williams splitting time between RB and WR, redshirt freshman Randy Hill got a load of carries at tailback. Hill gives the Sun Devils a third capable back and will get the call (alternating with Candidate) when Williams shifts out wide. Speaking of those out wide, Skyler Fulton has established himself as the top threat this spring. He is a physical receiver with the jets to spread the secondary. Fellow receivers Matt Miller and Terry Richardson have been pleasant surprises this spring… Koetter is very excited at the depth at TE, as the Sun Devils have four guys with the ability to start- namely Jamaal Lewis.

With injuries keeping some of the D-linemen out of drills, backups Gabe Reininger and Ricky Parker have stepped up and proved they will be valued contributors this fall. Speaking of D-linemen, take note of this: DE Nick Johnson is a STUD! He is bigger and stronger than Suggs and once his raw athletic talents are finely cultivated, he will be an All-American. Expect him to breakout this season. Overall, the Sun Devils have one of the best front lines in the Pac-10, despite losing Terrell Suggs. Don't expect too much of a drop-off from this group… The new linebackers, Williams and Burks, had impressive spring showings and are better fit for the aggressive 4-2-5 style the Sun Devils like to run. Look for these two to etch themselves into the national eye and set up for accolades next season. They have depth behind them as well. As much as the offense is publicized, the defense may be equally as good this season.

The hopes are for incoming freshman Jessie Ainsworth to nail down the placement chores, but he will be given a stiff running by Parker, who impressed with field goal work this spring. On returns, ASU will send back Shivers, Canidate and Randy Hill on kick-offs, with Golden and Lightfoot taking back punts.