QB Andrew Walter
Coach: Dirk Koetter
17-20, 3 years
2003 Record: 5-7
at Iowa LOST 2-21
at Oregon State LOST 17-45
at North Carolina WON 33-31
at UCLA LOST 13-20
at Stanford LOST 27-38
at Washington State LOST 19-34

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

In 2004, the Sun Devils will open with a comfortable pair of non-conference opponents, and then they get Iowa. However, this will merely serve as a prelude to a conference ledger of teams that, in 2003, totaled a 63-44 overall record. Simply stated, for Arizona State to advance beyond being another anomaly, they will have to record more than seven victories. How many more than that can be recorded? October road games versus Oregon and then Southern Cal will go a long way to answering that. The Sun Devils will likely win one you'll never expect them to, but lose one or two others likewise.

While there is no question that Walter is an extraordinary leader, his supporting cast will ultimately allow him the means to win. In short, for Arizona State, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and more victories will therefore occur. The Sun Devils have to avoid such a streaky nature - a losing skid of three games, and then later one of four games, secured their last campaign's fate. Walter will improve, and how much will directly parallel the team's level(s) of success.

After improving four wins from his first year's record to his 2002 results, head coach Dirk Koetter went backwards one win with the high expectations of 2003. Koetter's offensive background serves ASU well in the Pac Ten, but ranking 82nd in total defense won't, especially if they expect to challenge for a conference title and/or a Top 10 ranking. They can probably get to that Top 11-20 level if they play consistently, but expect little more.

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
QB - 4.5 DL - 2
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Andrew Walter, 421-221-10, 3034 yds., 24 TD

Rushing: Loren Wade, 136 att., 773 yds., 5 TD

Receiving: Derek Hagan, 66 rec., 1076 yds., 9 TD

Scoring: Derek Hagan, 9 TD, 2 pt., 56 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Jesse Ainsworth, 10-15 FG, 25-28 PAT, 47 long

Tackles: Riccardo Stewart, 84 tot., 51 solo

Sacks: Ishmael Thrower, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Riccardo Stewart, 3 for 19 yds.

Kickoff Returns:
Josh Golden, 9 ret., 18.4 avg.

Punt Returns:
Josh Golden, 19 ret., 10.0 avg.


OL Grayling Love
OFFENSE: Tim Fa'aita-OG, Tony Aguilar-OL, Regis Crawford-OG, Mike Karney-FB, Skyler Fulton-WR, Daryl Lightfoot-WR (transferred)
DEFENSE: Brian Montesanta-DT, Shane Jones-DT, Brett Hudson-S, Tim Parker-P, Jason Shivers-FS (NFL)

Andrew Walter (senior) will be given the ball for a third starting nod. Despite a stellar sophomore season, Walter slid in both yards and touchdowns during 2003. He also delivered only a 219.7 average during the Sun Devils seven unexpected, debilitating losses. While Walter's failures were consistently responsible for Arizona State's failures, he will once again be the crux of the Sun Devils' offense. Not withstanding 2003, he will be able to recover - he should produce amidst the non-defensive minded Pac Ten. Walter only completed a few more than half his attempts, but 24 TD passes offsets his inconsistent aim. If Walter fails, then head coach Dirk Koetter could hand the ball to either Sam Keller (sophomore), Chad Christensen (junior), or Mike Affleck (sophomore). Before the 2003 season, Keller was just another highly recruited signee from San Ramon Valley HS. Keller made the team, but not the depth chart (listed 5th on the 2003 official Spring Prospectus). He eventually leapt over the others to become Walter's backup. Look for Sam to get more action as Koetter commits to grooming him as a 2005 starter.

Running Back
Within the Sun Devils' running back core, there is an eclectic lot currently void of a defining lead. Atop this contingent is Loren Wade (sophomore), who strode into a leading role, despite his own opening depth chart position of fifth. Standing astride his position is Cornell Canidate (junior), who led the Sun Devils in rushing in 2002. As Walter slid in 2003, Wade pushed production past Candidate's '02 total of 493 yards to 773. However, that number still placed Wade only fifth amongst the Pacific Ten in rushing. Thus, a repeat of those numbers would not improve Arizona State's lackluster offensive balance. Wade will assume a commanding offensive role. Also expected to contribute are Hakim Hill (junior) and Randy Hill (red shirt sophomore).

Wide Receiver
For Walter to be effective, he will have to be aided by a mix of wide receivers. Leading this lot will be junior Derek Hagan, who has recorded 98 receptions and 1,481 yards during the last two seasons. Two years ago, he broke John Jefferson’s freshman receiving record and then followed that up with a stellar sophomore campaign where he was an honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection. The onus for leadership will fall upon Hagan, especially since Skyler Fulton has graduated, and someone has to compensate for the 901 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns that Fulton amassed last season. Despite defining himself as the Sun Devils second leading receiver in 2002, Daryl Lightfoot transferred to nearby Northern Arizona Univ. after a bout with unhappiness in Tempe that led to only 11 catches in 2003. Also striding into a complimentary role this season will be third ranked pass catcher Matt Miller (junior). To give whichever QB an equal balance amongst wide receivers. For ASU to avoid their previous fate, Miller will need to aid in balancing this corps. Also needing to contribute will be Terry Richardson (sophomore), Moey Mutz (junior), and Rudy Burgess (sophomore). Richardson caught 16 passes for 236 yards last fall. According to Coach Koetter, Terry has the ability to be a great player in the league.

Tight End

ASU's new H-back position and a double-tight end set will present a multitude of looks to opposing defenses this fall. The tight end and the H-back are separate positions but are interchangeable by assignment. Junior Lee Burghgraef is the returning starter at tight end. He caught six passes for 62 yards last year, and he proved to be one of the team’s best run-blockers. Sophomore Jamaal Lewis caught 10 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns last year as a tight end but will line up this fall as an Hback. Within the aerial shimmer of the Arizona State offense, there has unfortunately been little request for all tight ends. In short, a splendid season for them would be topping their '03 total of 16 catches. As with the fullback position (apparently now defunct), coaches need more focus on getting the ball to the TE so needed balance can be achieved.

Offensive Line
Due to the rapid-fire pace of Pac Ten play, a premium has been placed on offensive line finesse. Thus, the fact the Arizona State's returnees possess only one 300-plus pounded is not surprising. Similarly, the Sun Devils should struggle early. This will occur due to the existence of only one senior, Drew Hodgdon, on the entire two-deep depth chart. But these departures could be a blessing in disguise to overcome last year's pedestrian 3.5 yards per rush average. Improvement will be up to the three returning starters, especially the anchor of senior C Drew Hodgdon, to make it so. Grayling Love, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection last year, will get the nod at left guard. Carnahan, who started every game at left tackle a year ago, was named to the Sporting News Pac-10 Conference All-Freshman team. Look for the line to shuffle positions here or there to make of for the lack on veterans.

While Walter's play did slide during 2003, his effectiveness will be last amongst Arizona State's overall concerns. In short, there is little question that Walter will produce numbers. The question lies within the effectiveness of the Sun Devils supporting cast. Additionally, athletic talent could be at issue both within the skill positions and along the offensive interior. Again finishing in the mid-40s for total offense can do for the Sun Devils, but ranking 96th in rushing cannot, at least if they expect it to reflect any overall team results.
For Arizona State to reclaim bowl status, Wade will have to garner between 875-1,000 yards catching the pigskin. The receiving corps will also have to glimmer, as a minimum of four players will have to record 30 or more receptions. Excelling both tight ends and H-back involvement, as well as staunch offensive line play, would also produce their desired ends.


WR Derek Hagan


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Andrew Walter-Sr Sam Keller-So
TB Loren Wade-So Hakim Hill-Jr / Cornell Canidate-Jr
HB Jamaal Lewis-So Kellen Mills-Fr
WR Derek Hagan-Jr Moey Mutz-Jr
WR Terry Richardson-So Matt Miller-Jr
TE Lee Burghgraef-Jr Aaron Austin-Sr
OT Chaz White-Jr Brandon Rodd-Fr
OG Grayling Love-Jr Stephen Berg-So
C Drew Hodgdon-Sr Robert Gustavis-Fr
OG Zach Krula-So Mike Pollak-Fr
OT Andrew Carnahan-So Julius Orieukwu-Fr
K Jesse Ainsworth-So ..



Defensive Line
Ranking 53rd in rushing defense won't get you anywhere in the physically-lacking Pac Ten. Seniors Jimmy Verdon and Ishmael Thrower did combine to provide a solid balance at defensive end - 14.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks prove this, huh. Despite this, though, the Sun Devils will need to improve their pass rushing prowess. This dictates that both will need to increase their previous outputs. Kyle Caldwell, who was named to the Sporting News’ Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, should be much more seasoned and add to the pressure factor. Junior Mike Talbot, a converted fullback who put on 20 pounds since last season, will also figure into the mix. The Sun Devils DTs were devastated by graduation. Lost are both 72 total tackles and 44 combined career starting assignments. Senior Connor Banks added 25 pounds in the off-season, enabling him to move from end to tackle, where he’ll play alongside senior Gabe Reininger and sophomores Jordan Hill. Hill made the move to defensive tackle from linebacker after adding 25 pounds. Reininger appeared in every game last season, making 12 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss.

Leading the linebackers will be junior Jamar Williams - he led ASU with 10.5 TFLs. While he will be the Sun Devils unquestioned second tier leader, the play of senior Justin Burks will be just as vital. If Burks and Williams can relieve the secondary's tackling burden, then the Arizona State should be able to garner a modicum of respectability.
Both are capable of posting even bigger numbers this year in ASU’s new three-linebacker set. Juniors Matt Fawley and Lamar Baker, both of whom played safety last season, will compete for the starting “Devil” linebacker spot, the equivalent of a rover. Modeled after current St. Louis Ram Adam Archuleta, the Devil backer is expected to be able to adjust to oneback sets and must be a good blitzer. Ironically, the last time an ASU defense used the term “Devil Back,” the player who manned the spot was perennial All-Pro Darren Woodson of the Dallas Cowboys.

Defensive Back
Within the atmospheric play of the Pac Ten, solid secondary play is always a prime factor in winning. In 2004, the Sun Devils pass defense will be spearheaded by the veteran combination of R.J. Oliver and Chris McKenzie. Both mid-sized senior CBs had but two INTs and four pass breakups each, so they will have to step up to change their 95th pass defense ranking from '03. Also expected to make considerable contributions will be juniors Mike Davis Jr. and Josh Golden. Paired with their starting counterparts, these reservists should provide both solid depth and essential services within nickel situations. The fundamental leader of Arizona State's safeties is senior Riccardo Stewart. With the draft defection of Jason Shivers, Stewart's 84 tackles will return as the Sun Devils leading tackler. Accordingly, for Arizona State to be successful this season, Stewart has to be somewhat similar to the late Johnny Cash - "the man in back". It presently seems that only he can patch this war-torn crew to any next level(s). Senior Emmanuel Franklin successfully moved from cornerback to safety this spring and has played his way into the starting lineup on many downs.

Defense has never been a jewel of Pac Ten play. With that stated, Arizona State's defensive play will not be consistent. Each level will need to compliment the others, but will more likely one will excel as others marginally falter. If the ravaged defensive line can disrupt their opponent's timing, then they can get their LBs loose, thereby allowing them to record tackles. In turn, the LBs would relieve the secondary's tackling responsibilities. If these three systems can simultaneously engage, Arizona State might contend for a conference championship.


DB Riccardo Stewart


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Jimmy Verdon-Sr Kyle Caldwell-So
DT Gabe Reininger-Sr Brett Palmer-Fr
DT Connor Banks-Sr Jordan Hill-So
DE Ishmael Thrower-Sr Mike Talbot-Jr
SLB Jamar Williams-Jr Mark Washington-So
MLB Justin Burks-Sr DeAndre Johnson-Fr
DEV Matt Fawley-Jr Lamar Baker-Jr
CB R.J. Oliver-Sr Mike Davis-Jr
CB Chris McKenzie-Sr Josh Golden-Jr
S Riccardo Stewart-Sr Emmanuel Franklin-Sr
FS Daniel Varvel-So Maurice London-Jr
P Chris McDonald-Fr ..




Jesse Ainsworth converted on only 10-of-15 FGAs. More disturbing for Arizona State, Ainsworth went only 2-of-6 from beyond the 40. We all know the kicking game is essential. Thus, in order for Arizona State to ascend, Ainsworth will need to remarkably improve.

Punter Chris McDonald, a freshman from Red Mountain High School in Mesa, takes over for Tim Parker. McDonald has a strong leg but lacks experience. He’ll be backed by sophomore placekicker Jesse Ainsworth.

Return Game
Since Daryl Lightfoot transferred, the starting job on both kick and punt returns becomes a three-way mix between Terry Richardson, Rudy Burgess and Josh Golden. At least Golden was able to snare 19 attempts while in punt return formation, good enough for 10 yards per return in 2003. He also saw limited action returning kicks, so he is obviously the most experienced. The return game doesn't appear to strike fear in many opponents.