LaDarius Henderson says Pac-12 should be worried about Arizona State in 2022
Don’t tell LaDarius Henderson that Arizona State is trending in the wrong direction. He won’t buy it.
The fourth-year offensive lineman will instead ask why so much of the focus is on who Arizona State lost this offseason and not enough on who joined the program.
In meeting with members of the media on Wednesday, Henderson expressed confidence in his teammates, saying the culture within the ASU locker room continues to be a good one. Arizona State has no doubt experienced a tumultuous offseason—coach Herm Edwards and AD Ray Anderson have their job security consistently brought up, key players on both sides of the ball have transferred, assistants have resigned or been terminated—but Henderson said Wednesday that the rest of the Pac-12 conference shouldn’t overlook the Sun Devils in 2022.
“I feel like (the Pac-12) should be worried about us, but they’re not,” he said. “Let’s be honest. They’re not, according to the media. We’re just going to use that to our advantage and we’re going to do what we do and play our game. We’re going to be more internally worried about things than externally for a little bit.”
In terms of transfer departures, ASU has lost 17 players to the portal. The team’s starting quarterback, No. 2 tailback, two of the top three wideouts, and a pair of key defenders each left for other Power Five programs.
That, in conjunction with departures of five of Edwards’ assistant coaches, have helped to paint the Sun Devils as something of a sinking ship under their current head coach.
But the transfer portal has given just as it has taken this offseason. The Sun Devils have added 14 from the portal themselves, including Power Five transfers at quarterback (Emory Jones, Paul Tyson), wideout (Cam Johnson), tight end (Messiah Swinson), offensive line (Joey Ramos, Des Holmes), defensive line (Nesta Jade Silvera), and corner (Ro Torrence). ASU also pulled a 1,000-yard rusher from Wyoming to fill the void at running back and a former FCS All-American to add to the secondary.
“If you’re a big media guy or you’re really into following all that stuff, the consistent word that you see or hear is ‘lost, lost, lost, lost,'” Henderson said. “And you hardly ever really hear ‘gained, gained, gained.’ It’s almost as if we’ve just lost a bunch of players and haven’t gotten any, and if that’s the case, we don’t have enough people to play a game at all. I’ve focused a lot on the people that want to be here, the people that are here now, and the people that we’ve gained.
“To be quite honest, every loss isn’t a bad loss. I’m not saying every gain is a great gain but we sure do have some good ones when I look around this locker room. Some really good gains. That makes me optimistic for this team. That makes my teammates optimistic for this. When we’re optimistic and believe in each other, I feel like that’s a dangerous team.”