ASU’s Graham touts first recruiting class

Feb 2, 2012, 3:44 AM | Updated: 4:03 am

TEMPE — It’s never a great thing for a college football program’s
recruiting effort when a head coach is fired at the end of a regular

It also could be considered a hurdle if the ensuing coaching search takes
another 17 days.

That’s exactly what Todd Graham and his staff were facing after the
former Pittsburgh coach was hired to replace Dennis Erickson on
December 14. Yet, most experts agree that Graham and the Sun Devils
came out of their first recruiting foray looking pretty good.

The ASU class consists of 23 players, including 14 high school seniors
and 9 junior college transfers.

Graham was very pleased when all the smoke had cleared. “In any year,
I’d be happy with the group of guys we signed,” he said.

Highlighting the class is Saguaro High running back D.J. Foster, who put
up video game-like numbers; over 3,000 rushing yards and 54
touchdowns for
the Division 3 state champs. Foster announced his intentions last Friday,
but faxed in his letter of intent on Wednesday to make it all official.

“He’s obviously a dynamic player, D.J. Foster, he’s the so-called ‘jewel’ of
our class,” Graham said. “But the thing that makes him special as I sat
down to meet him for the first time at his school, I don’t know that I’ve
ever met a more dynamic player that was so impressive to talk to. ”

Foster wasn’t the only local product to sign on the dotted line with ASU
on Wednesday. Hamilton High’s Jaxon Hood, a 6-1, 290-pound
defensive tackle (and the son of former Cardinal Eric Swann) switched his
commitment from Boston College late in the process and opted to stay
home. And it didn’t take long for Hood to get into the business of
“speaking victory” — an oft-used Graham saying. At a gathering
Wednesday morning in Chandler for athletes who signed letters of intent,
Hood flashed the trademark pitchfork with his fingers while saying “I can
smell roses already.”

The other two local products that are now part of the program are
Mesquite High School’s Kody Kohl, a 6-3 220-pound tight end, and
younger brother of former Sun Devil Trevor Kohl, and long snapper
Easton Wahlstrom of Scottsdale Desert Mountain.

One prized recruit who held true to his original commitment to the
maroon and gold is Evan Goodman, a 4-star offensive tackle from
Lakeland, Florida whom Graham described as “one of the most explosive
offensive tackles in the country.”

The Devils also landed Marion Grice, the nation’s top junior college
running back. Grice ran for over 2,200 yards and scored 33 touchdowns
in two
seasons at Blinn College (Texas). Yes, that’s the same school that had
Cam Newton calling signals for them before he had a Heisman
Trophy, a BCS championship and a record-setting rookie NFL season on
his résumé. had the Sun Devils’ class ranked 43rd in the country, and 9th
in the Pac-12, but Graham isn’t too worried about that.

“Don’t put much stock in recruiting rankings. I don’t know exactly where
we came out but I can tell you that we were very excited,” he said. “We
didn’t win every single battle but we won a majority of them.”

And he’s right. There’s no way to grade the efforts of Graham and his
newly-formed staff until we see the product on the field. But
considering where this program was six weeks ago, I’d say assembling
this class is a victory of sorts.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona State Football

Arizona State football's new turf field at Camp Tontozona. (Sun Devil Football / Facebook)...

Wills Rice

Arizona State football to return to Camp Tontozona in August

Arizona State football and new head coach Kenny Dillingham announced the team will be returning to Camp Tontozona in Payson again in August.

1 day ago

Place kicker Ian Hershey #10 of the Idaho State Bengals gets a nearly mishandled punt off against t...

Arizona Sports

ASU football lands former Idaho State kicker, punter Ian Hershey

Place kicker Ian Hershey announced his commitment to Arizona State football after transferring from Idaho State.

4 days ago

Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Panthers, college football...

Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, 3 ASU players on 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Former Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald and three Arizona State Sun Devils are on the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

4 days ago

Follow @AZSports...

Arizona Sports

ASU’s Dillingham: QB Jaden Rashada ‘addicted to trying to be better’

The beginning of the Kenny Dillingham era in Tempe comes with an unknown at quarterback but also a few interesting options.

9 days ago

Kenny Dillingham, ASU football head coach...

Arizona Sports

2023 ASU football schedule includes FS1 appointments in nonconference

The Arizona State Sun Devils will begin the Kenny Dillingham era with a favorable schedule of four home games in a row.

9 days ago

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...

Tom Kuebel

ASU receives commitment from 2024 prospect Albert Smith III

Arizona State football added a commitment from EDGE rusher Albert Smith III for its 2024 recruiting class, Smith announced on Twitter Sunday.

19 days ago

ASU’s Graham touts first recruiting class