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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Biggest shoes to fill: Arizona State

By Kevin Gemmell

Starters in, starters out. That's college football. Players' eligibility expires and they leave for the rest of their lives, whether that includes the NFL or not.

And they leave behind shoes of various sizes that need to be filled.

In alphabetical order, we will survey each Pac-12 team’s most notable void.

Biggest shoes: Defensive lineman Will Sutton

Duh. He was the two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year, aptly named for former ASU linebacker Pat Tillman. Many debated whether Sutton was playing at his proper weight in 2013 after putting on about 25 pounds. As a result, his numbers declined from what they were in 2012. But he also garnered plenty of attention from offensive coordinators and as a result was still voted as the top defensive player in the conference in 2013. His first-step was wickedly fast, and on a defense loaded with seniors and veterans last season, he was the glue that kept it all together in the locker room and in the huddle.

Stepping in: TBD, but there are options.

Sutton is one of nine defensive starters who are gone from last season's squad. But D-line is a big deal to Todd Graham, who believes in stopping the run first and foremost. Senior Marcus Hardison will get an extended look after appearing in 13 games last season and posting five tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss. Dalvon Stuckey will be in the mix as will Demetrius Cherry, formerly a defensive end who missed last season but is up to about 300 pounds and could fill in at nose tackle. JC transfer Edmond Boateng will be in spring ball and has three years of eligibility.