Following today’s morning practice, the entire team, including coaches and staff members, made the trek up Mt. Kush to pay homage to the legends who had come before them and to plant their own legacies as Sun Devil football players.
The team split into position groups – offensive lineman, specialists, running backs, defensive lineman, defensive backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks, tight ends and linebackers – and each group began the climb in five-minute intervals (after all, it’s a small path and these are some big guys we are talking about).
The team had placed a Sun Devil Football flag, surrounded by rocks, at the top of Mt. Kush, and when each position group finally zigzagged their way to the mountaintop, they took a picture with coach Graham in front of the flag (Pac-12 Media Day in July seemed like a breeze for coach Graham as he posed for nine separate pictures).
After the obligatory photo was captured, each player in their respective position group signed a piece of Sun Devil memorabilia (for example, the quarterbacks signed a towel, the linebackers a t-shirt, the defensive backs a football) and then nailed it to a tree in front of the flag.
With their names firmly cemented to the top of Mt. Kush, each group huddled together to sing the Fight Song before they headed back down the mountain.
When everything was said and done, with thunder clapping overhead in the dark-gray sky, it was clear that a new day in Arizona State football history had started.
What began in 1958 as a way for coach Frank Kush to build the character of his players has evolved, more than 50 years later, into a way for coach Todd Graham to connect players from every era, alumni from every generation and fans from every walk of life.
Because at the end of the day, all one million members of #SunDevilNation were with the football team this afternoon as they made that climb up Mt. Kush. And they will be with them next year, and the year after that, and for many more to come.
Notes from the climb:
- Senior Associate Athletic Director of Football Tim Cassidy led the Fight Song five times at the top of Mt. Kush to earn his stripes as a certified Sun Devil, and newcomer Richard Smith led the wide receivers to show his true Maroon and Gold colors.
- The offensive linemen took home the top honors for “best team climb” as coach Bob Connelly had his men up and down the mountain in no time, while also keeping the group cohesive.
- The linebackers and running backs, led by coaches Ron West and Larry Porter, proved they were the toughest as they took the long home down the mountain and circled around the second practice field before arriving back at Camp, a full 20 minutes later than the rest of the team.
- The defensive backs earned the esteemed honor of having nailed their piece of memorabilia the highest on the tree.
- Other notable tree nailing’s included DJ Foster standing on the back of fellow running back James Morrison.
- Linebacker Steffon Martin showed off his singing skills as he led the ‘backers in a rousing rendition of “We Are The Devils” as the group climbed the mountain.
Notes from the morning practice:
- Quarterback Taylor Kelly connected with wide receiver Rashad Ross for a 98-yard touchdown pass during team drills. Offensive coordinator Mike Norvell was elated and sprinted the entirety of the field to congratulate Ross in the endzone. Always the consumante team players, the offense line was not far behind
- Steve Mack from Pac-12 Sports Watch took in practice as part of his conference-wide tour of fall camps. This was his fourth stop as he has been to Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA already this August.
- Former Sun Devil offensive linemen Grey Reugamer and Scott Peters of the 1996 Rose Bowl team visited Camp T today
- VP for Athletics Steve Patterson took in practice for the second day in a row and his third total practice so far at Camp T
- Coach Frank Kush was there today and watched his second practice of the week
- Payson Mayor Kenny Evans also watched practice
Click here for an entire gallery of the Sun Devils at Camp T