Thursday, February 15, 2007


Thank God That's Over With

Recruiting is dirty, dirty, dirty. Like the stuff under your toenails. Like Christina Aguilera's pap smear. Dirrrty. Icky. F'ing gross. The recruiting trail is full of coaches that swell the egos of 18-year olds to grand proportions, pumping up aspects of the school that the coach probably doesn't even really care about, and talking down every aspect of every other out there. Kids commit to one school, get surprise visits along with a slew of text messages, and then dick over their previous school, making everyone involved look really bad. ASU had quite a few of these this year from both sides, more than usual due to the coaching change. You win some and you lose some, I guess.

Yesterday's national letter of intent day yielded 23 signees for the Sun Devils, all of whom can be scrutinized in great deal at the official site. Needs were addressed, and most will say that Coach Erickson did a great job considering that after the JuCo signing period and the recruiting dead period, he only really had about 3 1/2 weeks to put this class together. You can read the transcript of yesterday's presser here, or if you're illiterate or just plain lazy you can listen to it at the link on the same page. Some highlights, if you will:

* 5 offensive linemen were taken in this class. This was the greatest area of need for the Devils going into the 06-07 recruiting year, especially after signing only one Hell Hog last year. This year was supposed to be an exceptional crop of O-line talent, particularly in the state of Arizona, but while ASU was handling the Koetter departure USC and Nebraska managed to swoop in and steal a lot of the Grand Canyon State's talent. While none of the local kids on the board stayed, Garth Gerhart is considered one of the top high school centers in the country and his HS teammate Adam Tello is a more than solid guard/tackle. One of the jewels of the class is Po'u Palelei, an offensive tackle from Las Vegas that is considered top 10 in the country on the line. Matt Hustad won player of the year in Montana, and before you make a joke regarding the low population in the M-T, realize this: he was the state's player of the year as an offensive lineman.

* There were several versatile athletes taken. Most of them are on the defensive side of the ball and will be placed where they fit best once they start playing. Some of the guys that will fit in somewhere are Oliver Aaron and Derrall Anderson from Florida, Jonathan Clark from Texas, and local boys Colin Parker and Jarrell Holman. This addresses immediate needs immediately.

* The D-line depth issue will not be an issue for much longer. Five were signed in last year's class not including the three transfers, and this year Coach E got another five. The most intriguing member of this year is Jonathan "the tank" English, a 6'0" 335 pound DT from River Ridge, Louisiana. I don't know where to go in Tempe for crawfish and gumbo, but wherever it is they need to start stocking up NOW. If there's not a cajun restaurant there, this may be a good business opportunity. Defensive end is one of the hardest to recruit out of high school, and Bo Moos and James Brooks may end up s tight ends if they can't put on the necessary weight. JuCo DE's Eric Tanner and Luis Vazquez are hopefully solid enough to challenge the depth chart immediately, which is not an easy task with Dexter Davis, Trannell Morant, and 6th year senior Loren Howard in front of them.

* This class is incredibly balanced. Eleven on offense, including 2 QB's, 1 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR's, and 5 OL's. There are twelve on defense, including 5 DL's, 4 LB's, 2 CB's, and 1 S. This balance won't show for several years (much like everything else regarding these kids), but having this balance makes for senior-laden teams in the future. It also helps avoid huge holes in the depth charts, like the one we had at DL and CB. Speaking of which...

* ASU only got 2 CB's, but they could both challenge to play right away. The aforementioned
Holman is a JuCo, and the other is Omar Bolden, a highly recruited kid from California. Bolden waited until a last second tv show to announce his committment to the Sun Devils, and he's one of these stud guys who did the stunt with the team hats. Definitely a big last-second addition.

Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, don't it?

* Two quarterbacks were taken, getting the number of scholarship QB's back up to four following the exodus of Max Hall, Derek Shaw, and 2007 Big 12 Player of the Year Sam Keller. (it's all but his.) The two we got- Chasen Stengel and Samson Szakacsy- are good ones, listed as the #4 and #7 QB's in California by Samson (get out your Half Baked quotes) was thought by many to be rated even higher, but a leg injury early in his senior season limited his playing time. He had verballed to USC but opted for the Sun Devils in the end after a strong recruiting push by Erickson. The recruitment of a third QB forced out Nick Foles, a strong-armed Texas recruit who commited to ASU back in July of last year and was loyal to the school after Koetter's departure. Best of luck to him, wherever he lands. Stangel was not recruited heavily (only other offer was from UTEP) but after a strong senior season many of the big boys are left wondering why they passed on him. By the way, it's supposedly pronounced "Sue-kay-chee."

Yes! Cuban B!

* Fast playmakers at wide receiver are an Erickson specialty, and this year was no different. This is the one area in which ASU was able to defend the recruiting home turf, landing AZ sprint champ TJ Simpson ans uber-pedigree Kerry Taylor, both Arizona high school products. Simpson (we have a Samson and a Simpson!) was the state champ in the 100m, 200m, and 400m, and Scout lists his biggest strengths as "speed" and "downfield threat." If there's one thing ASU's offense lacked this season (sans any Rudy Carpenter consistency jokes) it was a downfield threat, and WR is a position where one can make an immeadiate impact. You may recognize Taylor's name being the son of NFL safety Keith Taylor and nephew of former 49ers WR John Taylor, which you may remember from some clutch catches as the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII. More of that, please. Both guys commited early to Koetter, wavered when he was let go, and recommitted to Erickson. Credit where credit is due to Koetter for getting these guys to stay home.

* A running back was taken, although I'm not sure why. Oh wait, I remember the last time ASU was supposedly super-deep at RB. Where are those guys now? Jail, injured, jail, injured. Jarrell Woods was taken as JuCo transfer, and to paraphrase Coach Erickson he must be good if he's going to come in here and play right away, a nice shout out to Keegan Herring and Ryan Torain.

For more info on the new pledges check out the commit list at As always, hope springs eternal and GO DEVILS.

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Bolden, and Palelei are going to have a tough time qualifying. Erickson definitely had to gamble on a few.

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On Wednesday we always run an update on your blog, and what is going on down at ASU.
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