Heading into the 2022 season very few coaches are on a hotter seat than Herm Edwards. Arizona State has been the subject of NCAA investigations which has resulted in numerous coaches and players departing the program. An investigation into the Arizona State program was confirmed in June 2021. The university would not provide further comment at that time. Arizona State would finish the 2021 season with an 8-4 record which resulted in Edwards returning for the 2022 season.
Arizona State is being investigated for illegally hosting recruits during the 2020 season when visits were prohibited by the NCAA. Defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, offensive coordinator Zak Hill and tight ends coach Adam Breneman all resigned while wide receivers coach Prentice Gill and defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins were fired. One of the allegations in the report state coaches were hiding recruits in a suite during a home game. Another recruit was allegedly brought up the back stairs of the Arizona State’s football facility to meet head coach Edwards. Typically NCAA investigations of this magnitude result in the head coach eventually losing his job.
Edwards also also seen impact players transfer out of the program. Starting quarterback Jayden Daniels transferred to LSU after starting the previous three seasons for the Sun Devils. Daniels transfer to LSU was surprising because the Tigers already have depth and an expected starter. Daniels is currently expected to be second or third string for the Tigers. Another surprising transfer was LV Bunkley-Shelton. Bunkley-Shelton finished the 2021 season with 33 catches for 418 yards. He was also expected to be the number one receiver for the Sun Devils. Linebacker Eric Gentry was a freshman All-American who transferred to USC. Gentry was sixth on the team in tackles with 45 and would have been a vital part to the Sun Devil’s defense.
The Sun Devils schedule has a few early season tough matchups. Arizona State travels to Stillwater Oklahoma to face Oklahoma State the second week of the season. They also face USC and Utah in the first half of the season. Edwards’ job security will be a direct result of his first half record. The Sun Devils will need to avoid being upset by lesser opponents to cool off his seat. Winning will always be one of the fastest cures and easiest ways to divert distractions. If Arizona State struggles early, the microscope will be on Edwards and the NCAA investigation.