The Sun Devil 2011 recruiting class has largely been considered a disappointment. On National Signing Day, with recruits submitting their letters of intent, the talk was mostly of the players that turned down ASU. On the local airwaves, there was talk of a down year and how the states top recruits left the state for bigger programs. But once the evening rolled around, it was time for the coaches to celebrate the guys they got and at the ASU Signing Day banquet, they introduced their class to the Sun Devil faithful.
This year's class was a bit different in make up. The team had only 15 scholarships available and ended up using 14 of them, at least for now. Last season there was a large number of freshmen who started and made large contributions. This year's incoming class will be different.
Dennis Erickson's staff specifically targeted guys for development and for positions looking to the future, and naturally this will deter some of the bigger names getting ready for college because they want to play. Erickson said to those at the banquet, "it's a good recruiting class."
Not that he would say anything different. In fact, he pointed out that among the guys who "flipped" or decided not to come to Tempe, a few were told by Erickson's staff that they should.
Even still, the goal with this class was to find guys that "fit." Describing the class, Erickson said, "they don't need to play and that hurt us," referring to how some recruits were looking to get playing time right away and were deterred by the current Sun Devil depth chart.
Here's a look at the 2011 recruiting class and what the coaching staff had to say about them when introducing them at the banquet.
QBs Mike Bercovici and Michael Eubanks
Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said the team targeted both guys early and liked what they saw before knowing who was even recruiting them or how they were ranked by places like Rivals or Scout.com Bercovici "fit what we (the Devils) do" and was great about getting the ball out with quick decisions and throws. Mazzone said he also is a gym rat, a guy who is constantly watching film and working out, asking the coaching staff questions.
Eubanks, who ended up being a highly ranked recruit, has "a great upside," despite being a guy who at the beginning "was not highly recruited." When ASU discovered him, he was being courted by Utah State and "nobody else." ASU liked his throwing skills and how "he also brings some other stuff as a guy out of the pocket." He hits guys in stride down the field, he can throw very well and hard on the run and he can run.
WR Gary Chambers
The coaching staff just loves this guy. They see him as the "sleeper" of this class. He has "great speed" and a great upside. His 40 time is sub 4.5-4.6 and is a great athlete, having also been a standout basketball player. They see him being a guy who can stretch the field. They also are very happy with his dedication, as he enrolled in the spring as a grayshirt, thus giving him several more months of time to work out and be with the program.
OL Devin Goodman, Vi Teofilo and Brent Walker
The ASU staff was thinking long-term with recruiting offensive linemen. Their goal was to sign "a kid to mold as a center," another interior lineman and a tackle. They achieved all of these goals. They are not expected to play for a couple of years. With that being said, they are excited about their young linemen.
They feel that Goodman, who was a guard in high school, "is going to be an up-and-coming center in two years." He is "talented" and "vicious." It was interesting to find out how ASU recruits centers. Since in high school centers tend to be the smartest but smallest guys on the line (thus not usually built for college ball), they look at guards who are both physically talented and very bright, as this is necessary from the center position. They feel that Goodman will be very good.
Teofilo is described as someone who "is going to be an outstanding football player" and a kid "who loves to play the game." He is projected to play guard in the future.
They recruited Brent Walker to be a tackle. In technique, he has "great explosion with the hips," "long arms" and a "good kick-step." He is an athletic 300 lb. guy -- a "Big Devil."
DB Ezekiel Bishop and Rashad Wadood
Bishop was a guy that Arizona State was able to pry away from a previous commitment. He called the coaching staff and wanted everyone at the banquet to know "how proud he is to be a Sun Devil." The film shows violent hits. This "violent attitude" is what the Devils were looking for to add to the safety position.
Wadood "comes out of a great program" and is athletically gifted. They think the chance to be here and develop under guys like Omar Bolden will give him "the opportunity and tools to be a productive guy in the future.
LB Isreal Marshall and Kipeli Koniseti
Marshall reminds the defensive staff of Nick Barnett, who ended up having a very good college and pro career. He is an "impressive athlete" who "has the ability to play out in space." They expect him to step in after the great corp of current linebackers has departed and be a playmaker.
Koniseti was actually recruited two years ago and ended up qualifying, so they are glad to see him join the Sun Devil family.
DL Mo Latu, David Moala and Sean O'Grady
Latu is their prize in-state grab. He jumps out at you on film. "His topside is endless" and "was by far the best defensive tackle in Arizona." The defensive staff is thrilled to get him and that he is excited to be a Sun Devil.
Moala's stats jumped out to the staff. The fact that as a defensive tackle he recorded 18.5 sacks is remarkable, considering his position and the program he comes from.
O'Grady was a guy who was set on being a Sun Devil a long time ago. The coaching staff loves his passion and production, and his enthusiasm. He called three times on Wednesday to say his fax was sent, then to tell the coaches that he had just finished working out and was excited to get to Tempe and then a third time just to see what his coach was doing. He will play defensive end.
P Josh Hubner
He is the one guy that will be able to make an impact immediately. He follows Trevor Hankins, who was as good a punter in college football as there was. This kid is big. The ASU special teams coach says "he looks like he's a defensive lineman" with his size and seven tattoos (a punter with tattoos?) and that he has a big leg. he showed great ability at directional punting and sky punting. Most importantly, in high school he did "a helluva job getting the ball off." As punters go, the Devils got a good one.
So there you have it -- the 2011 recruiting class. Next year's will need to be very good, as they will have 23 scholarships and lots of seniors leaving. But as for this group, it is not flashy, but it should do exactly what Erickson and his staff intended -- find players to develop for years down the road, not this year.