Arizona State Football: Sun Devils' Top Priority on National Signing Day
Arizona State Football has done a good job in recruiting this offseason. Coach Todd Graham and company have made a marked improvement over past years, but it's still nothing to write home about.
Here is where their class ranks on the three major recruiting sites:
Scout.com—No. 7 in the Pac-12, No. 29 in the nation.
Rivals.com—No. 6 in the Pac-12, No. 29 in the nation.
247Sports.com—No. 6 in the Pac-12, No. 35 in the nation.
The Devils have bulked up considerably on the defensive side of the ball and are only one of two schools in the Pac-12 with more defensive recruits than offensive. They also have the second-most junior college players in the Top 50 schools according to Scout.com with nine. The University of Kansas is first with 16.
When Arizona State began the 2012 season, they were thin at the wide receiver position after losing three of their top receiving targets in Gerrell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad and Mike Willie. The 2012 season saw the top three leaders in receptions were not wide receivers. To add insult to injury, the top wide receivers on the team graduated after the 2012 season.
This was a glaring hole to fill for Coach Graham and he went out and received commitments from four 3-star receivers and two additional tight ends including the No. 14 ranked player in Arizona—Grant Martinez.
Another concern for the Devils after the 2012 season was in the secondary and at the linebacker position since three excellent starters finished their careers at Arizona State. Looking to replace linebacker Brandon Magee will be tough, but Coach Graham went all out and received commitments from two 4-star linebackers including the No. 3 ranked recruit in Arizona—Chans Cox.
Filling out the secondary was also a priority with Keelan Johnson and Deveron Carr leaving, but once again, the Sun Devils went out and received four 3-star commits including two safeties and two corners. Will Earley is the No. 55 cornerback in the country while Jayme Otomewo is the No. 56 safety.
The defensive line for Arizona State is the strongest that it has ever been with Will Sutton returning for his senior season. Jaxon Hood, Davon Coleman and Junior Onyeali are also studs on the defensive line. It was amazing to see that such great talent committed to the Sun Devils even though that is the area that is the deepest. It's great to see 4-star Junior College transfer Marcus Hardison as well as two other 3-star recruits.
Lastly, the one area that needed help was the offensive line. With the graduation of starters Andrew Sampson and Brice Schwab, the right side of the line is open. A couple of early signees in Nick Kelly and Josh Tremblay made it seem like the offensive line would be fine.
Add into the mix that Christian Westerman, the No.1 recruit in the state of Arizona in 2011, has returned home to play for Arizona State. Westerman left for Auburn to play for Gene Chizik but left amidst the controversy involving possible NCAA sanctions and the departure of Chizik. If Auburn is levied with sanctions, Westerman could be in the clear to start in 2013 for the Devils.
Recently, Tremblay decommitted from Arizona State and Coach Graham went out and recruited 3-star defensive end Jack Powers to come over to the offensive side of the ball. If Westerman is cleared to play for the Devils, the offensive line recruiting class could be considered filled, but as it stands right now, the only new recruits brought in are Powers and Kelly, with Kelly playing center.
What is perhaps more troubling is that the Devils aren't in the hunt for any additional help on the line, so it looks as if they are putting their hopes on Westerman playing or they feel that veterans Vi Teofilo and Sil Ajawara will be immediate plugs on the right side of the line.
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