ASU Freshman Linebacker Wise Beyond His Years

It was obvious, even before Arizona State’s season opener against Weber State, freshman linebacker DJ Calhoun was ready for the moment.

That is, if you were one of the select few to see it.

“Coming out of the tunnel…my heart was racing,” Calhoun told’s Brad Cesmat in a recent telephone interview. “The crazy part was I was kind of in the back middle…and then I started pushing myself to the front. I don’t know what became of me. I just started screaming and I tell everybody ‘let’s go.'”

Head coach Todd Graham wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s one of the reasons schools like Nebraska, Miami and nearly ever Pac-12 school courted the 6’0, 215-pounder who was a four-star recruit coming out of El Cerrito, California. Graham has been openly praising Calhoun’s leadership since he stepped on campus as an early enrollee back in January. His five tackles against Weber State indicate he’s just scratching the surface for the type of player the Devils envision him becoming.

Some, like teammate Jaxon Hood believe he will be the best linebacker in ASU history when his time in Tempe ends.

“I want him to tap the brakes on that,” Calhoun told Cesmat with a chuckle. “I appreciate it but I’ve only played one game. I want to take it step-by-step. I don’t even want to look at the next year…I have a long way to go.”

It’s been Calhoun’s quick knowledge of the system and natural football instincts which have blown away his coaches and teammates on a defense littered with young and inexperience. He was calling out assignments against the Wildcats and setting the defense from the opening series.

“I just have a nose for the ball,” he said. “See the ball. Go get the ball.”

Some players just have the “it” factor.

Put DJ Calhoun at the top of the that list. 


Next Reads