Junior Onyeali, for the most part, has flown under the radar during the 2011 offseason as the Sun Devils prepare for UC Davis. True, Doug Haller discussed the possibility of Onyeali having a breakout season in maroon and gold a few weeks back, but Onyeali remains a wild card for this team's front seven.
At only 5'11", Onyeali is a stout defensive end who kicks it into high gear quickly. A four-star recruit out of Mullen High School in Denver, Colorado, Junior found himself involved in every ASU football game in 2010 as a true freshman.
His strongest stretch of play was during weeks 5 through 8 of the regular season, when he amassed ten tackles and four sacks over a four game span.
More importantly, his determination and drive is what makes him special. Onyeali recently told SB Nation Arizona reporter Jose Romero that "nothing was given to [him]," and that working hard for the right to play every Saturday was his main goal.
Now a sophomore, Onyeali figures to play a huge role in the success of Arizona State's run defense in 2011. With the increasing likelihood that more blitz packages will be introduced, Onyeali should break his career-high mark of 6.5 sacks in this upcoming season. As injuries to the secondary continue to mount, Onyeali's contributions become more and more necessary moving forward.
Finally healthy after a year of shoulder problems, we might finally catch a glimpse of what the future holds for Junior.