Each year, once the BCS National Championship concludes, interest in recruiting rankings instantly peaks. However, fans can’t recruit, the coaches handle that dirty work.
For Arizona State University, Dennis Erickson has a tall task in front of him. Although the foundation and grunt work on the recruiting trail was laid out months ago, the payoff is less than two weeks away.
Verbal commitments in the recruiting process hold as much weight as a weekly forecast on your local news. Unfortunately in the past week, Erickson and the Sun Devil football program witnessed this normal occurrence, or typical “Thanks, but no thanks,” first hand.
Until that letter of intent is signed, sealed, and delivered, nothing is guaranteed.
Just this past week, Matt Romando, a 6’4”, 285-pound defensive tackle from Las Cruces, NM, switched his verbal commitment from ASU to Michigan State.
Romando was one of the prospects that Erickson and recruiting coordinator, Grady Stretz picked up as the foundation of the 2011 recruiting class. Other than Michael Bercovici, who is already enrolled at ASU, Romando was the second recruit to pledge for the Sun Devils.
Along with Romando decommitting, both Dillon Van Der Wal (Westlake Village, CA) and Rashad Wadood (Lakewood, CA), have backed away slightly from their verbal agreements, but still favor ASU. Van Der Wal is set to visit Arkansas this weekend, as Wadood is tripping to Miami.
With Romando opting out of his commitment with ASU, and Lawrence Guy joining fellow defensive tackle Sai’a Falahola in the NFL for years to come, the interior defensive front appears to be a glaring weakness moving forward.
Then again, the other side of the coin might show an extra scholarship to utilize on the commits and prospects set to sign with Erickson and the Sun Devils on February 2, 2011.
The door has always been open, but now the hope is that local prospect, and hot commodity, Todd Peat (Corona Del Sol, Tempe, AZ) will pull the trigger, and sign on with the Sun Devils.
Even taking it a step further, with Jim Harbaugh leaving Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers, uncertainty has risen in Palo Alto. Peat has long considered ASU, along with competition from Stanford, Nebraska, and Oregon State.
That ultimate decision to sign with the hometown Sun Devils or opt to cross the border has still yet to be determined. Believe me, fingers remain crossed.
But in football and in the recruiting process, everything boils down to a numbers game.
With Romando now “off the books,” the Sun Devils have four, or possibly five scholarships remaining for 2011. It is unclear who will be the prospects to fill those remaining slots, but here is a look at whom Erickson hopes to reel in come the first Wednesday in February.
Along with the aforementioned Todd Peat, Erickson and the Sun Devils have coveted Cyrus Hobbi, a 6’3”, 285-pound guard or center from Saguaro high school in Scottsdale, AZ, since 2009.
Praised with all-region and all-state honors since his sophomore year, Hobbi would be the next in a great line of Saguaro Sabercats to sport the maroon and gold jersey.
Another hot name recently has been Under Armour All-American, Mo Latu, a defensive tackle from Perry high school in Gilbert, AZ. Latu, at 6’2”, 315 pounds, would be a solid signee and instantly fill a massive hole on the ASU defensive line.
If Todd Peat signs along with Latu, then competition in fall camp should get extremely interesting.
The next name might be a back-up plan if Cyrus Hobbi signs at another school not named ASU, but Vi Teofilo is yet another mammoth offensive lineman. From Moon Valley high school in Phoenix, AZ, Teofilo (6’3”, 295 pounds), is still considering Oregon State and Fresno State as options.
However, don’t be surprised if he inks his name on Dennis Erickson’s paper work.
Shaquille Moseley, an outside linebacker that could even form into a strong safety in college, is ranked as one of the top linebackers on the West Coast, and 46th nationally by Scout.com.
But does Erickson have room for another Golden State talent?
At 6’2”, 215 pounds, Moseley has the flexibility, speed, and toughness to play multiple positions on defense, and Erickson adores talent like that.
Lastly, is Ka'Deem Carey, hands down the best running back in the state of Arizona, and a former Arizona Wildcat verbal commit, reopened his recruiting process.
Along with Carey, current Wildcat commit, Ezekial Bishop, will both visit Dennis Erickson at ASU this week.
There is a lot of ground to make up with Carey and Bishop, but stealing a couple prospects that U of A coveted will certainly make Sun Devil fans smile come signing day.
All the drama and speculation will unfold in the coming weeks, but the truth will be told when the ink dries on February 2nd.