Running Back: Deputy Norvell moving D.J. Foster to slot receiver is a classic good news-bad news situation. Good news is the running back position is deep enough to make up for the loss. The bad news is... well, let's just talk about that some other time.
Super Demario Richard should have every opportunity to follow up his Sun Bowl coming out party. With A-State_8's leftover carries trickling down the ladder, Demario likely will lead the Sun Devils in rushing next season. Spelling Baby Beast Mode will be Kalen Ballage, the Sun Bowl's Special Teams MVP. After nearly pulling off a miracle walk-off kick return in December, Ballage will be itching to solidify himself as the Maroon & Gold's number two in the backfield.
Behind the two known names, De'Chavon "Gump" Hayes and Jacom "Muscle Hamster" Brimhall look to be the change of pace backs. Hayes spent 2014 as a redshirt, after a two year stint in junior college. The #2 rated JUCO back of the 2014 recruiting class, his unique blend of speed and elusiveness should help mitigate the move of D.J. while bringing a new element to special teams. Brimhall cracked the lineup a couple times last year on special teams. A undersized, but explosive back, the "Muscle Hamster" could make a greater impact in 2015, should the injury bug strike.
Linebacker: If your linebacking corp has three of your top four returning tacklers, you must be doing something right. CTG and DC Patterson can hang their hat on this group.
Senior Antonio Longino finished last season as ASU's third leading tackler and quietly racked up a career high 17 tackles in the Sun Bowl. In his second year of starting, he should provide a veteran presence to Sparky's front seven. Coming in just behind Longino, Salamo Fiso enters his junior year after starting his first two years on campus. A PAC-12 honorable mention, Fiso looks for 2015 to be the year he truly breaks out. Viliami Moeakiola finished as the fifth leading tackler for the Devils in 2014 and is Arizona State's returning sack leader. With Marcus Hardison in an NFL training camp, Viliami could spend 2015, more often than not, with his hand down, seeking to replace the pass rushing presence hole Hardison left behind.
In addition to the wily old vets, young'uns Christian Sam and DJ Calhoun look to fill in the gaps. Sam rotated through as a #2 in 2014, playing key roles against in Colorado and USC, while mostly floating under the radar. A 2014 U.S. Army All-American game participant, Calhoun started in six games last season and was named a Freshman All-American. Expect both to get more PT this season.
Defensive Back: When any secondary returns four out of five starters, it can definitely help a defensive coordinator sleep at night. Factor in a defensive leader like Simone lurking over the top, Keith Patterson can rest easy.
Beginning with the corner spots, Lloyd Carrington enters his senior season as a third year starter. Carrington was all over the field last season, leading all corners in tackles, tacklers for a loss and sacks. The veteran corner also helped JUCO transfer Kweishi Brown and true freshman Armand Perry settle as his co-starters. Kweishi lead the team in interceptions last season, even sealing the Sun Bowl with one in the waning moments.
Onto the safety position, Jordan Simone goes into 2015 as Arizona State's leading returning tackler. The senior ball-hawk looks to be the unquestioned leader of this Sun Devil defense and possibly to follow in the footsteps of 1st round pick Demarious Randall into the NFL next season. Speaking of Randall, James Johnson looks most likely to step up and take the reins at the opposite safety spot. The sophomore played in all 13 games last season, racking up 25 tackles in limited minutes.