Throughout the entire offseason, there has been little talk of the Arizona State football defense. Most discussion didn’t get any further than new defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales or, perhaps, the couple players that were drafted into the NFL. But all but nothing about the Sun Devils actually suiting up on the defense in 2018.
One strong player returning to the defense this season is Koron Crump, who is returning to the linebacker unit after suffering an ACL tear in the second week of the 2017 season. The injury could have marked the end of Crump’s college career, as 2017 was his senior season, but the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility due to his medical circumstances.
Coming into 2018, Crump isn’t letting his knee get in the way of his goals. Before his injury, the linebacker was aiming for a 20 sack season — two per game. And he was on track to achieve this with four in just two weeks.
This year he says nothing has changed.
In an interview with 247Sports, Crump said that “20 is still the goal”. Where sacks are concerned, he intends to lead not just the Pac-12, but the nation.
Besides the talk, there’s more reason for ASU fans to be optimistic; despite still being listed as “limited,” Crump was able to participate in his first 11-on-11 practice on Tuesday. This was also Crump’s first practice under Gonzales in a scrimmage setting.
Gonzales, under his new 3-3-5 scheme, will be asking much more out of the outside linebackers than just pass rushing. The success of this scheme requires the entire defense be quick and agile and, per Crump, he’s excited about it.
The senior linebacker also told 247Sports, “I’m more of a true linebacker now. It’s not just rushing. I make more plays. It gets me ready for the next level. That’s why I’m excited about this defense.”
He’s also coming into 2018 ready to learn as much as he can from new linebackers coach Antonio Pierce, who recorded nine seasons in the NFL.
As for his mindset, Crump isn’t thinking about his knee at all, just letting himself react as he normally would. Whether he reaches the 20 mark or not, we’ll find out in December. He is expected to be ready to face the University of Texas at San Antonio on September 1st.