Breaking down ASU football’s early signees from the 2018 recruiting class
TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State set out under first-year coach Herm Edwards knowing its returning talent on offense would give the team promise in 2018.
The most significant losses come in departing running backs Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage. So plugging their roles was key, finding immediate difference-makers on defense became the main objective heading into the early signing period.
While the talent must translate to Division I football, the mission was accomplished based on the numbers. Seven defensive players of 11 commitments — all of whom were rated 3-star prospects by 247 Sports — signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
“We improved the backend of our defense, which I think is important,” said ASU assistant athletics director of recruiting Donnie Yantis.
Two of those players could challenge for playing time right away. Blinn College transfer Dom Harrison and City College of San Francisco product Terin Adams were the two junior college additions who could make an impact in 2018.
ASU also added a safety, three linebackers and a defensive end. On offense, three running backs and an offensive lineman put their commitments in ink.
Yantis said the Sun Devils plan to hand out 10 more scholarships when the signing period reopens in February. In terms of need, the focus will be on the offensive line, defensive backfield, linebacker corps and perhaps an interior lineman.
Here’s a look at the 11 players signed on Wednesday, and Yantis’ comments on each player.
RB A.J. Carter (Many, La.) — 6-foot, 223 pounds
“He’s a big back. His coach texted me this week, he said ‘Coach, he chose you guys over the school here locally.’ And you know who that is. That head coach was trying to get that young man. (Running backs coach John Simon’s) relationship with him was great. He’s the top back in Louisiana.”
RB Brock Sturges (Allen, Texas) — 5-foot-10, 200 pounds
“He’s a candidate for the player of the year in Texas.”
RB Demetrious Flowers (Bellflower, Calif.) — 6-foot, 219 pounds
“Very physical. Had an injury this year so it cut out most of his season.”
OT Ralph Frias (Safford, Ariz.) — 6-foot-6, 340 pounds
“He’s a big man. I think he has a ton of potential. Coach (Shawn) Slocum recruited him last year, went and watched him, watched his feet, watched him bend. Really good feet for his size.”
OLB Stanley Lambert (San Antonio, Texas) — 6-foot-4, 215 pounds
“Stanley has got a high, high ceiling. This young man is very long, played every position on the field except … quarterback and offensive line. He’s played running back, wide receiver, cornerback, safety, he’s a kickoff returner. Rushes the passer. We kind of envision him being our Devilbacker in the future.”
OLB Reggie Hughes (Calabasas, Calif.) — 6-foot-1, 209 pounds
“Had 19 sacks as a junior. Had an injury this year midway through … he’s a very twitchy guy. We envision him as being a pass-rusher but he’s a multiple-position player: We could see him playing the strong safety, outside linebacker, definitely inside linebacker.”
CB Dominique Harrison (Blinn College/Brenham, Texas) — 6-foot, 185 pounds
“He’s a press corner that can get after it. He’s a good tackler. He’s gonna be a guy that can play in space. Expect him to come in and compete right away. He’ll be here this spring.”
DE Michael Matus (Katy, Texas) — 6-foot-2, 230 pounds
“I think what separates him from a lot of guys in that position is his intelligence: 4.1 GPA. He’s already been admitted to Barrett Honors College, which is a huge deal … This young man is very athletic, and he can play a lot of different positions. We think he’s probably going to be 20 to 30 pounds and be a big-time pass-rusher for us and also he’s going to be a guy who can stop the run.”
LB Christian Lavalle (Mission Viejo, Calif.) — 6-foot, 220 pounds
“Pound for pound, probably the best linebacker in California. The kid has over 350 tackles in a three-year career. He’s a football junkie, knows everything about every player in California. I think he’s critical to what we do with recruiting in California.”
S Elyjah Doyle (Mission Hills, Calif.) — 6-foot, 190 pounds
“We kind of envision him being a strong safety type: Last year we called (it) our spur. Chose us over a number of Pac-12 schools.”
CB Terin Adams, City College of San Francisco — 6-foot, 185 pounds
“Big-time, physical kid, very athletic. Great ball skills. He’s a ball-hawk … makes plays on the ball, great eyes. Has great awareness, spacial awareness. His dad actually played in the NFL, Sam Adams.”