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Herm Edwards signs 22 players that fit the Arizona State DNA

TEMPE, Ariz. – Running back. Offensive line. Linebacker. Defensive back.

Arizona State football flooded those positions in its 2018 recruiting class, the first under new head coach Herm Edwards.

It was a quick process for Edwards.

Hired in December, Edwards had only a few days before the early signing period. Eleven committed then. Eleven more signed on Wednesday.

“We picked up a number of players in this class that are going to be Sun Devils that will help us tremendously,” Edwards said. “Collectively as a group, we did a nice job of really identifying players and fortunate enough that these players wanted to attend this university.”

The 22-player class included four running backs, four offensive linemen, five linebackers and five defensive backs.

With Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard graduating, the running back spot was certainly a position of need. So, too, was offensive line. And perhaps more so.

Of the 11 players who signed Wednesday, three play upfront: Jarrett Bell, Spencer Lovell and Casey Tucker; the latter of whom played his high school ball at Chandler Hamilton and is transferring from Stanford, where he started 22 games including the 2015 Rose Bowl.

“A big-time player for us that we look forward to coming in immediately and shoring up our offensive line,” assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Donnie Yantis said.

Defensively, the Sun Devils added size and speed. And the school benefited greatly from the hiring of linebackers coach Antonio Pierce back in December. Two players — safety Aashari Crosswell and defensive end Jermayne Lole — played for Pierce at Long Beach Poly High School.

Crosswell is a four-star recruit while Lole is a three-star.

According to 247 Sports, ASU’s class ranks fifth in the Pac-12 and 36th nationally.

“I don’t get involved in rankings. I get involved in wins and losses. That’s what the fans want,” Edwards said. “Just like in the NFL, you draft seven players and you’re hoping, you’re hoping, that three of them are really good players. What’s the difference in college football? You get 25 guys and within two years you’re going to figure out who’s who.

“You’re only as good as your players, any coach, at any level. We went after certain players that fit our DNA, and I think you’ll see a transformation of this in the next couple of years. That equates to wins. When you get good players, you have a chance to win.”

Geographically, ASU hit California hard with 13 of their 22 recruits hailing from The Golden State.

Locally, only two players — Tucker and Safford offensive tackle Ralph Frias — were landed in-state.

“You can’t force anyone to come to your university. All you can do is lay out your plan and say, ‘We’d love for you to be here,’” Edwards said.

“We got 13 from California so we’re headed in the right direction. We’d like to keep the local kids here. We’ve told every coach that. Our coaching staff has gone out and visited at least 80 high schools here. So we are in the vicinity. It’s up to that kid to make his decision. Does he want to come here — I hear a lot of them say, ‘I want to go to my dream school.’ Why can’t your dream school be here? It doesn’t have to be anywhere else.”

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