1976 Sun Devils
(Authentic Reproduction)





Sun Devil-mania was peaking and a change of the sunburst logo made the attractive ASU helmet even nicer-looking. The sunflower shell and one-inch maroon center stripe were now complemented by a sunburst logo similar to the '75 decal but this one afforded more contrast, with a maroon center and the sunflower colored ASU lettering appearing in the middle of the sun. With hopes of challenging for the national title, the let-down of a disastrous season was even greater. The only losing season Kush had known in thirty-one years as a player and coach was hinted at in the opening game 28-10 loss to UCLA and by the time Tony Mason's Cincinnati team had come in and defeated the Sun Devils14-0, they were 0-4. This impressive win for a supposedly inferior Bearcat squad secured the hiring of Mason as rival Arizona's head coach at the end of the year. Despite the presence of many talented players, Wyoming and BYU shared the WAC title as the ASU squad tumbled from the heights of '75 to a 4-7 finish.  It seemed as if the tools for victory were in place: Dennis Sproul and Fred Mortensen still shared the QB duties, John Jefferson, despite injury, still caught forty-eight passes for 681 yards despite injury and had receiving help from Larry Mucker who was with Tampa Bay from í77 through 1980. TE Bruce Hardy was still imposing as a blocker or receiver. Freddie Williams ran like the wind, completing his career with 3424 rushing yards and a total of seventeen 100-yard games to his credit while Danny Kush still kicked well. However the point production wasn't there as it had been in past years. DT Kit Lathrop and DE Al Harris led a defense that could not stop the run-option. Both Al Harris who was named to some All American teams and safety John Harris had outstanding seasons. John was All WAC and honorable mention AP All American with his seven INTís. The only face-saving part of the season was the 20-0 whitewash of Arizona and the November announcement that both Arizona and Arizona State would leave the WAC and become full members of the PAC for the 1978 season.




In 1973 the two most highly-sought recruits in Texas were Earl Campbell of John Tyler H.S. in Tyler, and John Washington of Dallas' Franklin D. Roosevelt H.S. Campbell was a thumping runner even then while Washington set state records of 140 career receptions for 2973 yards. Washington's fifty-five receptions for 1331 yards and thirteen touchdowns made him an All Everything choice. An immediate star at ASU, John Washington was now known as John Jefferson due to a decision to use his father's last name of Jefferson instead of his stepfather's surname of Washington and in 1975 he helped lead the team to its fantastic 12-0 season with fifty-two catches for 921 yards. One of those receptions is still known as "The Catch", a fingertip grab an inch above the turf to defeat rival Arizona. All WAC in 1975 and '77, a consensus All American in 1977, he played forty-two consecutive games in which he caught at least one pass. His 188 career receptions for 2993 yards are still marks to beat at ASU. A first round draft choice of the Chargers, Jefferson burst upon the pro scene as he had at Arizona State, in spectacular fashion. He made the NFL All Rookie team and four Pro Bowls in eight years, highlighted by his 1980 performance of eighty-two catches for 1340 yards and thirteen TD's. Unfortunately, only his first four seasons were spent with the receiver-friendly Air Coryell Attack of the Chargers as contract negotiation difficulties caused his trade to the Packers where his four years there resulted in approximately half the production he enjoyed at San Diego. After a three reception appearance with the Browns in 1985, Jefferson retired with much unfulfilled promise of greatness and went on to become Director Of Player Development for the Washington Redskins. John Jefferson remains, for all Sun Devils players and fans, one of their greatest players of all time and he was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 2002. In 1976, Jefferson enjoyed the distinction of wearing a helmet that was different in design than the rest of his teammates. On his sunflower colored helmet, he sported a one-inch white center stripe with one-inch maroon flanking stripes. While the Sun Devilsí sunburst logo was the same, the three-stripe arrangement allowed Jefferson to stand out every time he took the field, not only for his spectacular play, but in a manner that allowed him to be a bit more visible to his quarterbacks seeking out a sure-fire reception. 

                                 If interested in any of these ASU helmets please click on the photos below.