National Signing Day 2011: ASU Commits Are Still Weighing Options
Uncertainty, wavering between decisions and intense anxiety are now at their peak.
With one week left before national signing day, coaching staffs are putting the finishing touches on their respective recruiting classes.
The wavering has not gone unnoticed in Tempe, AZ. as some of Arizona State’s most coveted recruits have rethought their status with the Sun Devils.
More importantly, these highly-regarded prospects are seeking better and a higher potential for success with other schools by switching their verbal commitments.
Originally, the Sun Devils were players in the Christian Westerman sweepstakes. Westerman, from Hamilton High School (Chandler, AZ), is ranked as the No. 1 offensive guard (Scout.com).
However, even as a local product, the Sun Devils were a long shot to land the All-American.
Auburn, just like many other out of state football programs, won the recruiting battle for a big-time offensive lineman.
Thus far, the Sun Devils have watched not only Westerman, but four other highly-ranked offensive linemen, commit to foreign schools.
For Dennis Erickson, uncertainty surrounds Cyrus Hobbi from Saguaro High School (Scottsdale, AZ), who is now considering both USC and UCLA over the hometown Devils.
With in-home visits scheduled for next Tuesday, Lane Kiffin and Rick Neuheisel will have one final push to persuade Hobbi to come to LA.
Hobbi’s head coach at Saguaro, John Sanders, stated "They've been relentless," referring to UCLA and USC. When asked whether he thought ASU was losing ground as other schools pushed the envelope, Sanders replied "I think they are."
That is when the anxiety heightens.
After losing out on countless big-name, in-state offensive linemen this recruiting cycle, ASU needs to land Hobbi. Ranked as the sixth-best offensive guard (Scout.com), Hobbi will host a press conference Friday at 1 pm to announce which college he will attend.
In the meantime, the focus shifts to Erickson’s two highest ranked verbal commits. Both Dillon Van Der Wal and Michael Eubank are considering jumping ship and taking their talents elsewhere.
Van Der Wal, ranked as the 12th-best tight end (Scout.com), is preferred as a defensive end by Erickson and ASU recruiting coordinator, Grady Stretz, but has not ruled out a role on the offensive side either.
Van Der Wal visited Arkansas over the weekend and is expected to visit Vanderbilt this upcoming weekend. Both schools are interested in the Oaks Christian tight end as just that—a tight end.
Quite possibly the most surprising prospect wavering on his verbal commitment is quarterback Michael Eubank. Eubank comes from ASU’s most valuable recruiting pipeline, Corona Centennial High School (Corona, CA).
With Eubank’s verbal commitment in December, the Sun Devils were looking at signing at least one Corona Centennial Husky for the past four years, including, most notably, middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Now, with Eubank weighing his options, the Sun Devils’ recruiting class could take a significant hit. Eubank is considering Utah, a fellow Pacific 12 South Division foe, and Vanderbilt.
Utah might seem intriguing for Eubank, especially after the Utes named offensive mastermind Norm Chow as offensive coordinator this past week. As for Vanderbilt, Eubank and Van Der Wal will be visiting Nashville the same weekend.
Perhaps both will take their talents to the Southeast, or maybe both Sun Devil “soft verbals” will realize what ASU has to offer compared to Vanderbilt, and Utah.
Currently, ASU has 12 verbal commitments. Both Eubank and Van Der Wal are the jewels of this recruiting class to date. If one, or even both Eubank and Van Der Wal ditch the Sun Devils for greener pastures, Erickson’s recruiting efforts will have come up short for the first time in Tempe.
Although, if both prospects are retained through next Wednesday’s signing day, then recruiting will be deemed a success.
As for Cyrus Hobbi, well, if the big Saguaro lineman announces that he will be a Sun Devil rather than a Trojan or Bruin, jubilation will break out in the ASU Athletic Department.
For now, the ASU coaches have a lot of phone calls and in-home visits to make to persuade their commits to stay committed.
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