One of the many programs around the country entering 2012 with a new head coach is the Arizona State Sun Devils. Todd Graham takes his fast pace no-huddle offensive scheme to the desert after guiding Pittsburgh for most of last season. Graham’s departure from western Pennsylvania was not the smoothest of transitions but, sour grapes aside, the addition will be certainly be interesting in the Pac-12.
ASU had the unfortunate position of recovering from a coaching change during recruiting season as Dennis Erickson was replaced by the aforementioned Graham. By all accounts, Graham, was able to stabilize the process. For 2012, the Devils incoming class will include nine junior college transfers. Notably, there are zero quarterbacks in this year’s recruiting class. Currently ASU has four quarterbacks on the roster and none are upperclassmen.
Looking ahead to the class of 2013, quarterback and verbal commit Joshua Dobbs from Alpharetta, Georgia is in a good situation. With youth in front of him, Dobbs should red-shirt this year to avoid a cluster of underclassmen at the position. Dobbs stands at 6’3″ and shows tremendous comfort in passing the football. A year or two of coaching and bulking up his 190 lb frame will be beneficial.
The star thus far of the 2013 class is a linebacker and a four star rated recruit by Rivals. Chans Cox is listed as a linebacker but played running back as well in Lakeside, AZ. Defensive coordinators Paul Randolph and Ron West are getting a speedster in the front seven. Not only is Cox quick on his feet but he attacks the ball-carrier and needs no help in the tackling process. Cox is the proverbial ”football player” who can help no matter where Graham puts him.
Another notable on the defensive side of the ball is three star rated defensive end Dimarya Mixon out of Mesquite, TX. Out of high school Mixon already has decent size weighing around 260 lbs. Depending how the end fills out in the weight room he may be moved inside the line.
In-state product Nick Brown shines on tape as a defense back showing a knack for picking off the football and then doing something with the rock afterward. What Brown lacks in size (5’9″ 186 lbs) he more than makes up for in speed and elusiveness, as he was also utilized as a spread-option quarterback at Florence High School.
Just this past week, Graham received three verbal commitments. The trio are not given any stars by either Rivals or ESPN. Nick Begg, Joe Morris, and Jason Reese could all be valuable additions. Begg is a defensive end who also received an offer from San Diego State. A natural pass rusher in drills, Begg could use a little coaching, but the upside is there.
Morris is a 6’4″ receiver who has big play potential. Yards-after-the-catch should be no problem for the junior college transfer. Coach Graham will have a serious weapon with this pass catcher on campus. Reese is a sizable tight end at 6’5″.
Ellis Jefferson and Grant Martinez are given three stars by Rivals. Jefferson is a wide receiver and Martinez is a tight end. Both should fit in nicely with the pass first offense being employed by ASU. Arizona and Colorado gave Jefferson offers. Martinez received heavy attention himself, getting offers from ten other programs.
Currently the Devils are ranked 10th best of the Pac-12 2013 classes. There is room to move up as ASU has plenty of talent considering the program. Most importantly, the trend of six or less losses must end. Top recruits want to go to a winning program. Erickson’s ten win 2007 was apparently not a sign of things to come for his administration.
There is hope in the 2013 class. How well coach Graham closes in February could go a long way in determining how he can pitch the future of ASU to potential recruits. A tenth best in-conference recruiting ranking will not cut it in Tempe.
Four mediocre to bad seasons after Dennis Erickson, ToddGraham has a chance to flex some muscle in the Pac-12 South. The time is now.