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Sun Devils land Brandon Aiyuk despite interest from Alabama

(Twitter photo/@THE2ERA)

Alabama was too late.

On Wednesday morning Brandon Aiyuk sent in his National Letter of Intent to Arizona State. Within hours, he said, he was contacted by an Alabama staff member inquiring whether he’d like to play for the Crimson Tide.

“They’ve been talking to me a lot time but [yesterday] morning was the only time they got real serious,” Aiyuk said of Alabama’s offer.

Aiyuk, a 6-foot-1, 195 pound wide receiver and return specialist out of Sierra College in Rocklin, California, isn’t looking at it like a missed opportunity. He actually wanted to go play for the Sun Devils even before he knew he’d have the chance to.

“The receivers coach (Rob) Likens came up here to see me in November and then after the coaching change I kind of fell off with them,” Aiyuk said. “Then they came back recently (with special teams coach Shawn Slocum). I had already done my research on them, had watched them. But I already had visits set up and wasn’t going to be able to visit them.

“At first (in November) I was like, I want to go to Arizona State. So when they came back with the offer, there wasn’t much thinking to do.”

Aiyuk announced his pledge to the Sun Devils on Tuesday night. Even after visiting Colorado State, Kansas and Tennessee officially and having not seen ASU in person, he was confident in what he wanted to do.

Though he was credited with 60 catches for 960 yards and 14 touchdowns as receiver in 2017, Aiyuk was “mainly recruited as a defensive player” according to ASU recruiting coordinator Donnie Yantis on Wednesday.

Alabama initially recruited Aiyuk as a cornerback after his freshman year at Sierra College, a position that he played at McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada. Then Alabama offered him as a wide receiver on Wednesday, but too late.

How much Aiyuk divides his time between wide receiver and defensive back at ASU remains to be seen, but he’s also expected to play as a return specialist. Last season, Aiyuk averaged 38.0 yards per kickoff return, and returned two of his 11 opportunities for touchdown.

“They just want me to come in there and just play,” Aiyuk said. “I trust the coaches to put me in the best spot to be successful.”

Aiyuk, a three-star recruit and the 22nd best prospect and No. 9 wide receiver recruit in the California junior college ranks by 247Sports, has three years to play two seasons as a Sun Devil.

“He’s a highly-productive player,” Yantis said. “He’s one of those guys that he’s a great punt returner and kick returner.”

This story appears on ArizonaSports.com courtesy of a partnership with SunDevilSource.com, part of 247 Sports and home for the most detailed information on Arizona State football.

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