TEMPE, Ariz. — As successful as the Arizona State football team has been on the field this season, it’s been just as successful — if not more — in recruiting.
“I think people are more interested in what you do than what you say,” head coach Todd Graham said.
What ASU has done is win 10 games for the first time since 2007, win the Pac-12 South Division and win the its second straight Territorial Cup game.
“Going in and winning and being successful on the field — I think we played one of the top, maybe the toughest or next to the toughest schedules in the country,” Graham said. “To be able to look back and to have had the success we’ve had, it’s monumental. You can sell people whatever you want to sell them. They look at what you do … this year has pushed us forward. You’re going to see that. It’s been very impactful in recruiting.”
Of course, just how impactful it’s been won’t fully be known until National Letter of Intent signing day in February — though Graham, by all accounts, will land one of the conference’s top recruiting classes.
“We’re trying to take everything we do to a different level,” Graham said. “Year-in and year-out we want to be competing for the Pac-12 championship and be competing for Rose Bowl championships and hopefully national championships.”
Graham said that the Pac-12 Networks show ‘The Drive’ has given recruiting a boost, giving potential recruits a glimpse into everyday life with the Sun Devils.
“It’s been great exposure for our program to show our coaches and our players and how we teach and how we go about doing things and the belief we that have in each other, the family atmosphere that we have,” Graham said.
Running back DJ Foster committed to ASU two years ago, deciding to stay in-state after starring at Scottsdale Saguaro High School. A year ago, linebacker Chans Cox out of Lakeside Blue Ridge High School made the same choice.
“We had offers all around the country,” Cox said. “We saw what coach Graham was doing here. That made a huge impact. This season’s outcome is huge also. I think a lot of prospects see that coach Graham is the difference. I think it will really help get a bunch of local kids as well as out-of-state kids to come to Arizona State.”
Right now, Scottsdale Chaparral receiver and defensive back Tyler Whiley is the lone top-10 recruit in the state to verbally commit to ASU, though two others may follow.
Chandler Hamilton offensive lineman Casey Tucker has narrowed his choices to ASU and Stanford while teammate Qualen Cunningham, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end who set a school-record with 18.5 sacks this season, is reportedly wavering on his commitment to Texas A&M.
“Winning breeds winning,” Graham said. “That’s very impactful when it comes to recruiting; and getting the right guys. We’re definitely taking a giant step forward there.”