Players to watch: Arizona State

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
3:00
PM ET
The Shamrock Series is taking over Jerry World this year, with the Irish "hosting" Arizona State in Arlington, Texas, in Todd Graham's second year in charge of the Sun Devils. Graham beat the Irish with Tulsa in 2010 and came awfully close to repeating the feat with Pitt in 2011. Can he pull off the upset on Oct. 5?

To read previous entries from this series, click here.

Offense: Taylor Kelly, QB. Kelly is one of the more underrated quarterbacks returning to college football in 2013, as he is coming off a season in which he set a school-record 67.1 completion percentage, throwing for 3,039 yards and 29 touchdowns to go with just nine picks. He added 516 yards and another score on the ground, and the redshirt junior returns his top three pass-catchers from last season. ASU appears to be one of the dark horses in the Pac-12 and on Notre Dame's schedule this fall.

Defense: Will Sutton, DT. This game will be fascinating if for no other reason than to see how the game's two-best interior defensive linemen fare on the same field: Louis Nix and Sutton. The reigning consensus All-American finished 2012 with 63 total tackles, including 23.5 tackles for loss (fourth nationally) and 13 sacks. Sutton was named the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts. The 6-foot-1, 288-pound redshirt senior is on the watch lists for both the Bednarik and Maxwell awards, one of just six defensive players to be named to the latter list. (Nix and Stephon Tuitt are two of the others.)

Matt Fortuna | email

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