Graham’s ASU recruiting class heavy on JUCO talent
The 2013 National Signing Day is underway, and as of mid-day, ASU has 27 official commitments and counting.
Coach Todd Graham and his staff have signed 10 junior college athletes and 16 high school recruits, along with a big college transfer from Auburn. Graham’s east coast ties allowed him to reach out and bring in talent from Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Ohio. Four of those 10 JUCO transfers are ranked in ESPN.com’s top 100, while two others made Rivals.com’s list.
The loss of ESPN.com four-star quarterback Joshua Dobbs to Tennessee — ASU’s only quarterback recruit — casts a shadow over Graham’s first full recruiting class.
Four-star recruit Marcus Hardison is one of Graham’s top signees thus far after the loss of Dobbs. Coming out of Dodge City Community College in Kansas, ESPN.com ranks Hardison the No. 5 junior college recruit due to his pass rushing, run stopping and disruptive ability up front. Hardison had 26 offers other than ASU, including West Virginia, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Florida State, Tennessee and Arkansas to name a few.
After struggling at the wide receiver position in 2012, Graham wanted the best talent obtainable on the outside. The ESPN.com four-star wide receiver Jaelen Strong out of Pierce College (PA) may provide just that for the Sun Devils and quarterback Taylor Kelly. His big frame standing at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds creates another big target for Kelly alongside 6-foot-4 junior wide receiver Alonzo Agwuenu.
The Sun Devils also signed Strong’s college teammate Joe Morris, a three-star wide receiver according to Rivals.com and ESPN.com. Other wide out additions include West Jefferson High School’s Ronald Lewis, John H. Guyer High School’s Ellis Jefferson and Coppell High School’s Cameron Smith.
Chandler native Christian Westerman’s decision to transfer from Auburn to ASU is a coup for the Sun Devils, who gave up 38 sacks on the season. Westerman’s power up front, technique and drive blocking skills will bolster Kelly’s protection up front. The only disadvantage, according to Scout.com, is his arm length. While Westerman may be ineligible due to NCAA transfer rules for the 2013 season, his future impact for the Sun Devils should be worth the wait.
Graham’s goal was keep top local talent here in the Valley. The signing of ESPN.com’s No. 5 local linebacker and No. 61 positional player Chans Cox from Blue Ridge High School was a step in the right direction. Cox received offers from Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC and Nebraska, yet Graham found a way to keep the 6-foot-2, 225 pound in Arizona. Cox is fast for his size and ranked No. 1 at his position by Scout.com.
While the Sun Devils’ recruiting class doesn’t rank inside the top 40, Graham sees something inside his junior college and three-star recruits that will produce a successful 2013 season in the Pac-12.
|Chans Cox||LB||Blue Ridge HS (Lakeside, AZ)||****||****||***|
|Kisima Jagne||DL||Chandler HS (Chandler, AZ)||***||***||***|
|Christian Westerman||OL||Transfer from Auburn (Chandler, AZ)||****||*****||N/A (Transfer)|
|Nick Kelly||OL||American River CC (Sacramento, CA)||***||**||***|
|Joseph Morris||WR||Pierce College (West Palm Beach, FL)||***||N/A||***|
|Ellis Jefferson||WR||Guyer HS (Denton, TX)||***||***||***|
|Marcus Hardison||DL||Dodge City CC (La Gorda, FL)||****||***||****|
|Matt Haack||P||Dowling HS (West Des Moines, IA)||**||***||**|
|Antonio Longino||LB||Hutchinson CC (East Cleveland, OH)||***||***||***|
|Eriquel Florence||LB||Contra Costa College (Valley, AL)||***||***||***|
|Demetrius Cherry||DL||Contra Costa College (Frostproof, FL)||***||***||***|
|Grant Martinez||TE||Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, AZ)||***||***||***|
|Cameron Smith||WR||Coppell HS (Coppell, TX)||***||***||NR|
|Jack Powers||OL||Palma HS (Sallinas, CA)||***||***||***|
|Alani Latu||LB||Rancho Cucamonga HS (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)||***||***||***|
|Viliami Latu||LB||Rancho Cucamonga HS (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)||****||***||***|
|Ronald Lewis||WR||West Jefferson HS (Harvey, LA)||***||***||***|
|De’Marieya Nelson||TE||San Joaquin Delta College (Stockton, CA)||**||***||***|
|Corey Smith||DL||O. Perry Walker School (New Orleans, LA)||***||***||***|
|Jaelen Strong||WR||Pierce College (Philadelphia, PA)||***||***||****|
|William Earley||CB||West Mesquite HS (Mesquite, TX)||***||***||***|
|James Johnson||S||Upland HS (Upland, CA)||***||***||***|
|Jayme Otomewo||S||Dorsey HS (Los Angeles, CA)||***||***||***|
|Damarious Randall||DB||Mesa CC (Pensacola, FL)||***||***||***|
|Solomon Means||DB||Butte College (Stockton, CA)||**||**||NR|
|Marcus Ball||ATH||Westerville-South HS (Westerville, OH)||***||***||***|
|Nick Begg||DE||Rancho Santa Margarita HS (Santa Margarita, CA)||***||***||***|