Paulie Blog: ASU misses out on home-grown talent
It was a brushback pitch of sorts. An e-mail that hit my in-box like chin music during an at-bat. Except, I was on-air in mid-rant. And, to the listener, I was crowding the plate with my take.
Looking back, the subject line said it all, even though I was NOT saying it as he had typed out: "Quit bagging on the Devils."
Hey, Paulie Zero-Star Recruit was neither bagging nor ragging. Instead, I was saying it out loud to myself during Sports Interactive (noon-2pm/Sports 620 KTAR).
And I'll mutter it to myself again: in a signature year for highly-rated offensive lineman in AZ, the top five recruits just left the state. A bumper crop that other programs just harvested. I mean, somebody cue the "I Drink Your Milkshake" movie clip (There Will Be Blood) that we feature in "Paul's Call" (8:35am/Sports 620 KTAR).
Cuz, let's say that again: exactly none signed with ASU. And as I said it over and over, I thought it'd make more sense with repetition.
Nope. On LOI Day, the Dennis Erickson press conference was most certainly lacking in LOL's.
"Four or five or six of ‘em got away," explained Erickson. "Did we want that to happen? No. But it did. We recruited those kids hard, extremely hard."
Hence, I got the high-hard fastball from the listener, as ASU fans are taking it hard. Do you blame ‘em? ASU wound up with just 2 of the top 15 in-state recruits, as rated by Rivals.com.
Not happy, not at all. Not unless you include gallows humor. How else do you explain losing 4-star DL Todd Peat Jr. (Tempe Corona el Sol) at the 11th hour? Instead of taking a pen to sign on the line that is dotted with ASU, Peat Jr. took a sign from above.
"When I was driving home, I was saying, 'Alright, I'm going to ASU and I'm going to be a Sun Devil.' I pull up to a stop light and something catches my eye. I see a Nebraska plate on the car in front of me and I have never seen a Nebraska plate in Arizona in my life. You know, I was like, 'It's a sign from God, I think.' I've been praying about it. And, I said: 'I'm going to Nebraska.'"
In college football, you have to sell the program. Sell the experience, sell the schedule, sell the stadium. Sell, sell, sell. And as anyone who has ever sold for a living can tell you: customers are buying YOU, as much as they're buying the product.
And, right now, the recruits aren't giving Coach Erickson their credit card numbers.
In fact, if the rumored black uniforms make their debut this season, let's hope it won't be on account of the mourning.