Following a disappointing Friday in the recruiting department with Cyrus Hobbi pledging to the USC Trojans, Dennis Erickson and the Sun Devils took another hit to their class over the weekend.
On the last recruiting weekend of the 2011 cycle, Dillon Van Der Wal decommitted from the Sun Devils and gave his verbal commitment to Vanderbilt University while visiting the Nashville campus.
Van Der Wal is rated as a four-star prospect and the 12th-ranked tight end (Scout.com). Although the Sun Devils reportedly were more interested in the Oaks Christian athlete at defensive end.
Perhaps you can’t blame Erickson’s staff for seeing the potential with Van Der Wal harassing quarterbacks in college, as he totaled 68 tackles and 22 sacks in 14 games as a senior. The Los Angeles Times even selected Van Der Wal as one of the best eleven defensive players in Southern California.
Yet with all that set aside, Van Der Wal wanted to pursue a future on the offensive side of the ball, where he caught 12 passes for 192 and 2 touchdowns as a Senior. Although, a quarterback’s best friend is an enormous tight end, and clearly Van Der Wal’s frame fits that mold perfectly.
While Van Der Wal was at Vanderbilt’s campus, Arizona State hosted four potential Sun Devil recruits, including Quintin Pedroza—a current verbal commit.
Following the visit, David Moala, a 6’1” 285-pound defensive tackle from Serra high school in Gardena, CA, committed to the Sun Devils. The Serra Cavaliers have been a hot bed in recent years for recruiters after appearing in back-to-back CIF State Championship games, and Moala is the latest recruit.
Although Moala just received a scholarship offer from ASU, it was a long time coming for the defensive standout. Moala racked up 110 total tackles as a junior including 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.
This past Fall as a senior, Moala managed to match his impressive junior numbers with 91 total tackles and reaching Michael Strahan sack numbers with 18.5, including three against West Hills (CA) Chaminade.
Joining Moala in Tempe over the weekend were California natives Patrick Onwuasor and Wendell Taiese.
Onwuasor is one of the top safeties in Los Angeles, and can name the school of his choice. The Inglewood, CA, athlete who doubles as a speed receiver has written offers from Nebraska, Miami, FL, Oregon State, Washington, as well as Arizona State.
After Cyrus Hobbi chose USC over ASU on Friday, the Sun Devils went looking for another big-bodied offensive lineman. Wendell Taiese looked the part and tripped to Tempe to see what Erickson had to offer.
The 6’6” 340-pound Taeise returned back to Oakland with a written offer from the Sun Devils. Although the cache of Hobbi is not there, the ideal size of a run blocking machine is evident with Taeise.
Perhaps this recruiting weekend began with anguish on Friday, but the big pay off does not come until Wednesday.
And there are still plenty of quality recruits and Sun Devil prospects still yet to make their college choice. A few names that Sun Devil fans should keep an eye on in the coming days are: quarterback Michael Eubank (Corona, CA), running back Ka’Deem Carey (Tucson, AZ), linebacker Leilon Willingham (Denver, CO), wide receiver Devin Lucien (Encino, CA), safety Ezekial Bishop (Denver, CO), and the most intriguing prospect remaining, defensive tackle Todd Peat (Tempe, AZ).
If fans in the “Valley of the Sun” were anxiously awaiting Hobbi’s announcement last Friday, the same restlessness will continue through Wednesday when Todd Peat, the 14th-ranked defensive tackle in the country (Scout.com), decides between ASU, Nebraska, Oregon State, and Stanford.
Rated as the third best Arizona high school recruit this year, the Sun Devils absolutely have to save face in the Grand Canyon state by landing Todd Peat on national signing day.
Overall, the recruiting class has taken a few hits this past week, but Dennis Erickson has secured two top-25 recruiting classes in three years. Reaching that plateau this year looks to be a major stretch, but Erickson usually has a few tricks up his sleeve once the calendar flips to February.