Arizona State Football: Why Marion Grice Is the Sun Devils' MVP for 2013

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Arizona State Football: Why Marion Grice Is the Sun Devils' MVP for 2013
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Marion Grice's athletic ability help make him the Sun Devils' best offensive weapon.

Marion Grice has been Arizona State's best offensive weapon this season, and his scoring prowess earns him MVP honors.

It's hard to imagine what the Sun Devils offense would be like without Grice.

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He's currently second in the nation in scoring, averaging 15 points scored per game and accounting for 120 points so far this year.

The senior from Houston has found the end zone 14 times on the ground and six times through the air.

To put those numbers in perspective, Grice's 20 touchdowns account for nearly 38 percent of touchdowns scored by ASU this year, including defensive scores. His 120 points account for almost 30 percent of all points scored by the Sun Devils this year.

There was a point earlier in the season when it seemed Grice scored every time he touched the ball. Grice has since come back to down to earth.

Grice is ASU's MVP, though, because he gives the Sun Devils a big-play threat its offense desperately needs.

His durability is also unmatched.

The running back really hasn't missed any time since coming to Tempe, even when his childhood friend was shot and killed before ASU's bowl game last year.

It's Grice's skill set, though, that make him a special player.

Pac-12 Network analyst Glenn Parker told Doug Haller of azcentral.com that Grice's toolkit is full of offensive moves:

When he hits the hole, he hits it at full speed, but he can stop and make a lateral cut if he needs to. He’s maybe better than anybody in the country at using the momentum of the person striking him to spin or use it to his advantage to gain more yardage. If he weren’t carrying the football, it’d almost be like a sprawl of a wrestler. He can almost kick his hips out and then spin off them to keep his feet going. It’s impressive.

This impressive athletic ability has allowed Grice to become ASU's featured offensive threat in the red zone.

At the end of October, Dan Greenspan of NFL.com wrote about the running back's red-zone scoring abilities and compared him to a former NFL superstar:

How about LaDainian Tomlinson? There is the same dominance inside the 20-yard line -- Grice has an FBS-high 31 carries in the red zone this season, resulting in 11 rushing touchdowns to tie for the national lead. There is the same versatility in the passing game -- Grice has four red-zone touchdown receptions.

While those stats have since changed, the sentiment still rings true: Give Grice the ball in the red zone and he'll score.

This ability to score in the red zone has been especially important for the Sun Devils this year, as their offense has had trouble finishing off drives at times. When they give it to Grice, though, those troubles subside.

While Grice has had a remarkable 2013 campaign, it's a shame he hasn't gotten any Heisman hype.

As he told Kevin Gemmell of ESPN.com though, his lack of publicity doesn't bother him:

It doesn’t frustrate me. I do things other running backs can’t do. That’s a positive. I might not touch the ball 40 or 50 times like some other guys. But I know if you give me the opportunity to make a play, I’m going to make it for you.

Grice is humble and the strongest offensive player the Sun Devils possess, and for that, he wins MVP honors.

 

Stats and information from ESPN.com, unless otherwise indicated.

Robby Baker is a B/R Featured Columnist. You can find his B/R archive and follow him @Robby__Baker.

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