Sophomore defensive tackle William Sutton and redshirt freshman outside linebacker Anthony Jones have been declared academically ineligible for the 2010 season Arizona State announced Friday.
Players are required to have successfully completed 24 units -- 18 excluding summer school -- in order to participate in the fall semester of their second academic year. Sutton and Jones fell short of this mark and NCAA waiver petitions were not successful.
Sutton's absence will likely be most felt. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder was among the most productive defensive linemen on the roster during fall camp with coach Dennis Erickson at one point saying Sutton was playing as well as any of the team's defensive tackles.
"It does hurt our depth, obviously, at defensive tackle," Erickson said following Friday's Mock Game. "But all you can worry about are the players that are playing not the ones that aren't."
Last season, Sutton played in all 12 games as a true freshman including two starts. The Corona, Calif., Centennial High product had 17 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble on the season.
ASU's starting defensive tackles are junior Lawrence Guy and senior Saia Falahola and its top backups are junior Bo Moos and sophomores Toa Tuitea and Corey Adams.
Tuitea has been sidelined with an elbow injury in the last week but is expected back next week according to Erickson. Adams had surgery for a torn meniscus Friday and Erickson said team doctors told him it would likely be two-and-a-half to three weeks before Adams would return to the field.
"We'll have five tackles when it's all said and done, and that's better than we've ever had," Erickson said.
The Sun Devils have other options with their personnel along the defensive line. They use junior end Jamaar Jarrett on the inside in their nickel package, which they may use more of this year due to their talented and athletic secondary depth. They also could use more three man fronts, with Guy flanked by Jarrett and junior end James Brooks backed by four linebackers.
Jones, a 6-foot-2, 217-pounder out of Hamilton High in Chandler, Ariz., was excellent on the scout team last year and expected in the off-season to become a factor on the depth chart.
But the team's depth at the position looks more solidified. Juniors Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons start on the outside with sophomore Vontaze Burfict in the middle. Senior Gerald Munns is a high level reserve in the middle and juniors Oliver Aaron and Colin Parker had had solid camp showings on the outside.
Friday night lights
ASU had its Mock Game Friday evening at Sun Devil Stadium in front of an estimated several hundred fans. Quarterback Steven Threet worked with the first-team offense and is expected to officially be named the team's opening game starter in Erickson's Monday press conference. The quarterbacks were told of the decision in a Friday meeting according to multiple sources.
Senior Thomas Weber, one of four team captains, had a bit of a rough start Friday but finished with converted field goal attempts from 57 and 45 yards.
Four true freshman are expected to play in the team's opener against Portland State: cornerback Alden Darby; running back Deantre Lewis; wide receiver Kyle Middlebrooks; defensive end Junior Onyeali.