Arizona State had a pretty solid if unspectacular recruiting class. House of Sparky fills us in on the details.
Two phrases that Todd Graham has used repeatedly at Arizona State have been "speaking victory" and "high octane." These phrases reflect how he expects his team to play on the field, and now we know it is how his coaches recruit off the field.
Graham and his staff just landed their first full recruiting class, as the Sun Devils signed 27 student-athletes on National Signing Day. The class features players from nine different states, six junior college prospects, and sixteen defensive players.
We talked with Brad Denny of House of Sparky to learn more about the recruiting class.
1. How well do you think ASU filled positions of need in this class? Are there any places they came up short?
If you look at their class as essentially a "free agent" signing period, then they did pretty well to fill their most dire holes. The wide receivers were sub-par last season, and the top two from 2012 graduated, so ASU brought in five promising prospects at the position. They also added some nice pieces at linebacker and in the secondary that should contribute in 2013. On the flip side, the big story was the last minute loss of 4-star quarterback Josh Dobbs to Tennessee after being an ASU commit since June. A last minute scramble to flip Washington State recruit Tyler Bruggman was fruitless, and for the second straight class, ASU failed to land a quarterback. Not nearly as dire but maybe a little concerning is along the offensive line, where a few players came in, but nothing overly promising.
2. Who would you say is the biggest impact ASU recruit in this class?
It's hard for ASU fans to not get excited about the potential of defensive lineman Marcus Hardison. The transfer was ESPN's fifth-ranked juco player, and brings a similar blend of size, strength and explosiveness to the line as Will Sutton, ASU's consensus All-American tackle. Adding a player of Hardison's caliber to an already loaded position group figures to make ASU's front four among the nation's best.
3. If you were to rank Arizona State's position in the Pac-12 recruiting hierarchy, it would be ______ because ______.
Most publications have ASU sixth or seventh, and that's probably about right. It's obviously impossible to rate a class until at least a year out, but like many Sun Devil classes of late, this class has a lot of steak but not a lot of sizzle, especially after the loss of Dobbs. That being said, if the high number of juco prospects (10 of the 27) can produce the same number of impact stars as last year, that ranking should skyrocket come fall.
4. The player I think will make the most immediate impact for the Sun Devils ____________ because ________.
Wide receiver Jaelen Strong because he's an exceedingly talented and polished player at ASU's biggest position of need. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound juco transfer has great size, speed and playmaking ability, and it will be somewhat of an upset should he not land a starting spot by fall camp.
5. Who are the under the radar recruits to watch for in this class for ASU who could be on the field sooner rather than later?
Marcus Ball was a Wisconsin recruit that ASU managed to flip on Signing Day, and he brings a wealth of athleticism to the team, able to play both tight end and safety. He'll play on defense with ASU, and his explosiveness makes him one to watch at the SPUR position. Tight end De'Marieya Nelson is a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder who is incredibly versatile, and draws immediate comparisons to Charles Clay at Tulsa during Todd Graham's time there. He could be used in a wide variety of ways on offense from the 3-back position.