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Arizona State football recruiting: ASU recruits JC players better than anyone

The track record of JUCO players under Graham at ASU is ridiculously impressive

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

For years, Bill Snyder has built Kansas State into a strong football team with junior college players being a significant part of his program's success. I don't know if Todd Graham is using Snyder's tactics as a model for his program at Arizona State, but the Sun Devils are doing as well with junior college players as anyone in the country.

ASU has developed junior college kids into NFL Draft picks and have had a ton of success on the football field with those kids playing a large part in it. Since 2012, Graham has went heavy on JC kids and it has payed off big time with players like running back Marion Grice, wide receiver Jaelen Strong, safety Damarious Randall, and defensive tackle Marcus Hardison all now drafted in the NFL. They also have starting center, co-captain, and 2nd team All Pac-12 selection Nick Kelly along with linebacker Antonio Longino (17 tackles in the Sun Bowl) returning in 2015. I could name a bunch of others who have started games or been important contributors as well. Graham said it himself to azcentral's Paola Boivin last month, "We probably have the best reputation in country for developing JC players."

It's pretty clear how Graham wants to build up the talent in his program. The Sun Devils signed nine junior college players in Graham's first full class in 2012, followed that up with ten in 2013 (the most Kansas State signed in the last five classes was ten), seven in 2014, and three in February. They just got a commitment from a 4 star JC defensive end, Christian Hill, last week for 2016 as well.

Hill is raw, but has great physical tools to work with (6'6" 265) and a non-stop motor. He has the potential to develop into an impact pass rusher in the Pac-12.

What can make Arizona State even more consistently successful by using the same kind of recruiting strategy than Kansas State is their ability to land blue chip (4 or 5 star recruits according to the 247Sports composite rankings) high school players as well. ASU signed six of them last February and seven in 2014. Kansas State signed zero in their last five classes.

I'm pretty sure Graham knows he is never going to beat USC and UCLA for the majority of the top recruits in California. They'll get their share of talented players, but they can only win so many recruiting battles when they go head to head with those programs.

What Graham can do is utilize every resource he can to supplement the high school talent he does land. That means targeting junior college kids and they now have a track record of finding the talent from those schools. If they keep developing them along with the other talent on hand, then the talent gap between them and the southern California schools will continue to get a lot smaller and the Sun Devils will get to the point where they are consistent contenders to win the Pac-12 South every year.