2011 is supposed to be an exciting year for ASU Football. It has a preseason rank of 23. It is considered a favorite to compete for the first Pac-12 championship. However, the offseason has been fraught with obstacles. The latest loss is that of defensive end James Brooks, who has decided to leave the football team.
Brooks had a couple of highlight plays in the Sun Devils' last game, blocking two extra points against rival Arizona. However, Brooks time at ASU has been rocky. Two seasons ago, he was suspended for three games. He left the team for a bit in 2010 for personal reasons but returned before the regular season began. He also missed time this spring to tend to academic issues he was having.
This decision is reportedly final, but he will remain at the school to finish his degree and will remain on scholarship.
The loss, as mentioned, is one of many unexpected hurdles this offseason. 2010 starting QB Steven Threet retired due to lingering effects of a concussion. Running back Deantre Lewis was shot in the leg in a random shooting. Cornerback Omar Bolden and receiver T.J. Simpson suffered knee injuries. Former Sun Devil Kerry Taylor came out in a TV interview claiming Dennis Erickson is not the right man to take the Sun Devils to the next level.
Luckily for the Devils, the team has good talent still at defensive end in Junior Onyeali and other young players expected to contribute, but Brooks will be missed in 2011.