If your school name is Texas, Southern California, Ohio State, Florida, LSU or Oklahoma, among others, the probability of those schools securing top-tier in-state talent is fairly high. In the state of Arizona, that notion could not be further from the truth.
During the past year on the recruiting trail, Arizona State has secured just three homegrown Arizona-bred prospects. That number increased on Wednesday, with the hope that more recruits will soon follow.
Vi Teofilo, a 6’3”, 294-pound offensive lineman from Phoenix’s Moon Valley High School, committed to sign his letter of intent with Erickson and the Sun Devils.
Before Teofilo’s commitment on Wednesday, five other Grand Canyon offensive linemen committed elsewhere. Oregon tabbed two valley road graders, Penn State stole another, Auburn picked up possibly the best offensive line prospect in the country with Christian Westerman, and even Oregon State managed to pluck a guard from Mesa, AZ, during the recruiting process.
Needless to say, the fans in the "Valley of the Sun" were getting restless.
Whether or not Teofilo’s commitment sparks interest within the fan base, the ASU coaches understand the need to recruit local talent.
Teofilo adds to the currently small list of Israel Marshall (Phoenix, AZ), Gary Chambers (Glendale, AZ) and top junior college punter Josh Hubner (Scottsdale, AZ), all opting to enroll locally.
In the coming days, the list of local talent enrolling at ASU is expected to rise, but to what number?
The Sun Devils' most coveted prospect since day one of recruiting has been Cyrus Hobbi, an offensive guard from Saguaro High School (Scottsdale, AZ). On Friday at 1 pm, Hobbi will announce his decision between the Sun Devils, USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins.
Teofilo was considered to be a “backup” option if Hobbi and the above-mentioned elite linemen committed elsewhere—which they did. However, Hobbi wants to play early and often.
At ASU, with five starting linemen returning, instant playing time will not be guaranteed. With USC and UCLA in the mix, both Los Angeles schools are desperate for linemen help after missing out on several big name national recruits.
Yet still, Hobbi looks to be leaning toward ASU in his final decision. If Hobbi did not know where he was going to enroll, why would a set announcement be determined, especially when USC and UCLA have in-home visits still scheduled with the Saguaro guard?
Sounds like a decision has already been made, and Hobbi will likely don a Sun Devil hat during his presser.
Along with Hobbi, Todd Peat, a 6’3”, 280-pound defensive tackle from Corona Del Sol (Tempe, AZ), is the next recruit Erickson and his staff are awaiting a decision from.
Peat is the 14th-ranked defensive tackle (Scout.com) and the top defensive lineman in the state of Arizona. With the recent loss of Lawrence Guy to the NFL Draft and Sai’a Falahola graduating, the need for a dominant defensive tackle is an absolute must in recruiting.
With seven days left before national signing day, Peat’s list has been narrowed down to Nebraska, Oregon State and Erickson’s Sun Devils. Peat is as local as a local product can get.
The idea of another school swooping in and stealing Peat from directly underneath the ASU coaches’ noses would be down right troubling. This scenario is why a "backup plan" is always in place during recruiting.
Look no farther than Mo Latu from Perry High School (Gilbert, AZ). Latu was featured in the Under Armour All-America game last month, playing both guard and defensive tackle. With the Sun Devils' necessity to fill the gaps on defense, his position at the college level might have already been determined.
Latu is down to Arizona State, Utah and Colorado State, where his older brother Nuku Latu is a senior defensive lineman.
The probability of Erickson reeling in Hobbi, Peat and Latu sounds promising, but in the end, 17- and 18-year-old high school kids will be the ones making the final decision.
In a perfect world, all three prospects would sign on to play for the hometown Sun Devils, but recruiting is all about persuasion and reaction. The coaches have relayed their sales pitch countless times thus far, but if the recruits don’t bite, plan B must be placed in motion.
With the Sun Devils ranked seventh in the Pac-10 recruiting rankings (Scout.com), starting Friday with Hobbi’s announcement, ASU’s coveted recruits will inevitably shake up the conference recruiting rankings.
For ASU, the hope is that these upcoming decisions will impact the Sun Devils’ ranking for better, not for worse.