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Following the 2021 season, ASU football has seen much turnover on its roster and staff. On the offensive line, Kellen Diesch, Henry Hattis and Donovan West all declared for the NFL Draft and consequently left three holes at left tackle, center and right guard.
With a last-place ranked recruiting class in the Pac-12, Arizona State has had to rely on the transfer portal to complete the offensive line.
Graduate transfer Chris Martinez and redshirt senior Spencer Lovell are battling for the right guard position. Martinez, a former starting left guard at San Diego State, said he his chemistry with graduate transfer right tackle Des Holmes gives him an advantage.
“It’s cool playing right next to him, we already have a little bit of chemistry going,” Martinez said. “It’s nice communicating with him, we get things across faster.”
Holmes and Martinez are in similar positions and are helping each other learn the Sun Devils’ offense.
“We talk together every day,” Holmes said. “A lot of the slang is pretty similar at other schools. (I’m) talking to Chris about ‘What do they do here’ and ‘How do you do this’ and what our combinations will be. As long as we communicate, that’s what offensive line play is all about.”
After three years as SDSU’s left guard, Martinez brings a heavy run-blocking background. Last year, albeit in a different offense, ASU had the fourth-highest yards per carry average and fifth-highest yards per game in the Pac-12.
“I’m a pretty physical player,” Martinez said. “Coming from San Diego State, it’s a really downhill offense; smash-mouth football. I feel with how the offense is run I fit in well.”
Both players mentioned how influential ASU’s rushing attack was as a selling point in their transfer decisions.
“I love how much we run the ball here,” Holmes said. “When it comes to running the ball, especially as an offensive lineman, you have to take pride in that. That’s our bread and butter.”
With Martinez and Holmes, the offensive line will have plenty of playing experience everywhere except at left tackle. Sophomore Isaia Glass has been running first-team reps so far.
“I know how it is being a young guy coming in, the way your mindset might be or the way you work,” Holmes said. “It’s always great to have an older guy be on you a little bit.”
The other transfer, Emmit Bohle, had an unusual entrance to football. The Selby, South Dakota native is one of ASU’s most interesting transfers, but he will likely be a swing tackle in 2022. Chalk it up to his only true experience playing offensive tackle being at the Division II level.
In high school, Bohle played nine-man football, where the tight ends replaced where the offensive tackles line up. Bohle played tight end and put on weight in college to move to tackle.
“I was hesitant to make that change (from tight end to tackle), but I think it was the right decision,” Bohle said. “At tight end, you’re still doing a lot of blocking, so it hasn’t been too hard of a change.”
For this season, Bohle offers intriguing athleticism and upside. He will be a developmental project for Arizona State’s offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. His experience as a pass-catcher could also create interesting plays for offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas.