August 19, 2006

ASUDevils.com Camp Awards

ASUDevils.com was in attendance for more than 90 percent of the Sun Devils' camp practices once the team when to shells two weeks ago. Here are our Camp Awards:

Camp MVP: Rudy Burgess -- This award goes to Burgess no so much because of what he accomplished in camp -- though he was highly productive -- but because of his versatility, work ethic and the example that he sets on a daily basis for the younger players on the roster. He has a professional approach to the game that you rarely see in a college player but he does it in a way that still allows him to have fun. He was one of the most consistent wide receivers and a demonstrated clearly that he's good enough to start at cornerback.

Runner-up: Josh Barrett

Offensive MVP: Brandon Rodd -- Unheralded. That's the word that sums up Rodd's standing in the program. He's just a great lunch pail guy; he comes to play every day, works hard and plays his tail off on every snap. There is nothing demonstrative about him. He just goes about his business, and he doesn't stand out because that would mean he's not doing his job effectively. Casual observers wouldn't even notice him. But that's what makes him so good.

Runner-up: Keegan Herring

Defensive MVP: Josh Barrett The physical tools that Barrett has have always been jaw-dropping but now he's showing that he can translate that into making a fantastic impact from his safety position on a consistent basis. He's playing more physical, perhaps because his confident is at an all-time high now that injuries problems appear to be in his past. He's breaking on balls better, taking better angles and playing more fundamentally sound.

Runner-up: Kyle Caldwell

Top Offensive Newcomer: Ryan Torain -- Extremely talented 6-foot-1, 216 pound running back is a perfect compliment to Keegan Herring because he's a hard, downhill runner who does well inside the tackles but is also capable of break it outside, and he's excellent on third downs. Torain is a capable pass protector and he can really catch the ball coming out of the backfield. He has a nice lean and should do well in short yardage or goalline situations.

Runner-up: Dimitri Nance

Top Defensive Newcomer: Justin Tryon -- A bull of a cornerback who gives maximum effort every time he steps on the field, Tryon has a chance to be the best cover corner the Sun Devils have had in quite some time. He's physically aggressive at the line of scrimmage, makes great reads and breaks on the ball extremely well. Having a player like Tryon makes a defensive coordinator's job significantly easier.

Runner-up: Michael Marquardt

Top Offensive Freshman: Nance -- In most years, Nance would definitely be playing at least a significant role as a true freshman, but this is the deepest the Sun Devils have been at running back in the Koetter-era, so he might redshirt. Regardless, he's very well put together at 210-plus pounds, and he has very good footspeed and footwork. He can really cut when running the ball inside.

Runner-up: Lance Evbuomwan

Top Defensive Freshman: Ryan McFoy -- Most people would pick Gerald Munns and that would be understandable because Munns is a heck of a player and he'll probably start this season as a true freshman, but we've been blown away by how talented McFoy is at safety playing behind Josh Barrett. He's mature beyond his years physically and mentally and has a terrific approach to the game.

Runner-up: Munns

Most Improved Player - Offense: Paul Fanaika -- This is a player that has come about as far as possible for a lineman in the last year or so. He's technically improved tremendously and physically much more capable. Plus, Fanaika might have the meanest streak of any linemen on the roster and we happen to think that is a good thing. He might be the team's most consistent second team performer on the line.

Runner-up: Jeff Gray

Most Improved Player - Defense: David Smith -- For a large portion of camp we thought that Smith was the most productive defensive tackle on the roster. He's added about 15 pounds since last year but it is good weight and he's very active with improved versatility at the position. Whether he's running with the first or second team, Smith is very capable and he'll be a key component of what figures to be an improved defensive line, so long as it remains healthy.

Runner-Up: Beau Manutai


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