Signing Day Evaluations & Expectations Part I

Devils Digest's Joe Healey breaks down the first seven signees of ASU's recruiting class.

QB Mike Bercovici (Calabasas, Calif./Taft HS)

Signing Day Evaluation: Rated the No. 55 quarterback prospect in the nation by Scout.com, Bercovici was one of the more intriguing recruits in the West this year. In 2009, Bercovici was required to sit out due to transfer regulations so teams had little to no footage upon which to grade him, so evaluations were incomplete at best. ASU was able to properly grade Bercovici through camp performances and extended an offer in early July, which Bercovici accepted shortly thereafter.

The Devils' confidence in Bercovici was quickly validated as he screamed through the 2010 season at a record pace, totaling 3,755 passing yards and 37 touchdowns and 103 rushing yards with three scores. An excellent pocket passer with a rocket for an arm, in only one season as a full-time starter Bercovici showed immense potential to be a very solid collegiate passer.

Coach Erickson on Bercovici: "Mike Bercovici, who we all know about, is here already on campus. So he's involved in our workouts. He's an outstanding quarterback, one of the better quarterbacks in the state of California."

Recruiting Battles: Due to the fact that Bercovici verbally committed to ASU nearly three months prior to the start of the regular season and was faithful to that pledge, his recruitment as a whole was a very basic process. Schools such as UCLA, USC and Washington attempted to sway his allegiance, but Bercovici was all maroon and gold from day one.

Early Expectations for 2011: One of two midyear enrollees of the 2011 class and the only prep product of the pair, Bercovici has the distinct advantage over his classmates in that he will participate in spring drills. With the recent retirement of would-be fifth-year senior Samson Szakacsy and some uncertainty surrounding senior Steven Threet's physical condition, there is a plausible chance that Bercovici could be the third quarterback in spring drills.

If that is the case, he should see a fair amount of reps behind projected starter Brock Osweiler and redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly. From that foundation, the potential exists for Bercovici to be among the active quarterbacks during the regular season, much like Osweiler and Danny Sullivan before him that played as true freshmen.

S Ezekiel Bishop (Denver, Colo./East HS)

Signing Day Evaluation: Few athletes will endear themselves as quickly to the ASU fan base as quickly as one that spurns rival Arizona in favor of the opportunity to become a Sun Devil. Though the process was in the works for several weeks, the official word was announced merely two days before Signing Day, making the late switch even a little sweeter for followers of the maroon and gold.

A versatile and aggressive athlete that saw action at defensive back, linebacker, running back, fullback and on special teams during his prep career, Bishop was ranked as the No. 97 safety in the nation by Scout.com after recording a team-high 84 total tackles (60 solo) with four sacks, three pass deflections, two blocked punts, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Though his size (5-10, 182) isn't overly intimidating, he plays with fearlessness and is expected to have a very bright future at safety.

Coach Erickson on Bishop: "Ezekiel Bishop is a safety that we really liked. He had committed to Arizona early, and he decided to come to Arizona State. He's out of Denver. He's the kind of guy that we like. He's very similar to Eddie Elder."

Bishop on ASU: "ASU was the best (option) for me. I fell in love with the school. The facilities are awesome. Each sport has their own thing. Coach (Dennis) Erickson's resume is amazing; he's been very successful in his career."

Recruiting Battles: Though he verbally pledged to Arizona in late June, when Wildcat assistant coach left Tucson to join the staff at Colorado in early December, Bishop considered his alternatives. Ironically, though Brown relocated to a school in Bishop's home state, the Buffaloes were unable to gain an advantage for his services and the Sun Devils were able to swoop in and earn Bishop's signature.

Early Expectations for 2011: The safety positions were far from stable as a whole in 2010, and with Max Tabach gone from the roster the group maintains some uncertainty entering 2011. Beyond upperclassmen Eddie Elder, Clint Floyd and Keelan Johnson, there is very little experienced depth at safety though there are enough bodies to adequately fill out the depth chart. Basically, playing time certainly will not be handed to Bishop but the window of opportunity exists for him to earn time on defense and special teams.

WR Gary Chambers (Glendale, Ariz./Ironwood HS)

Signing Day Evaluation: An All-Arizona 5A II honoree and the No. 257 wide receiver in the nation by Scout.com, Chambers was one of the better prospects in the state of Arizona at his position after catching 38 receptions for 655 yards and seven touchdowns. Though he is considered to be a generally raw athlete, he has admirable physical qualities and showed the coaching staff enough to warrant a scholarship offer.

Coach Erickson on Chambers: "I've liked Gary Chambers ever since we had him in camp last year. He's a big tall receiver. When I had my home visit with him, he was up to 210 lbs. and 6'3". He can run. He's an excellent basketball player, the kind of guy who you want outside. That's what we were looking for; we were looking for an outside receiver."

Chambers on ASU: "ASU is a big time school. Everyone wants to play on a big stage and ASU gives me that. It's also close to home so everyone can come see me play."

Recruiting Battles: Since ASU has primarily offered Chambers under the stipulation that he will greyshirt and enroll next spring, it was expected that other schools could offer Chambers an immediate spot and compromise his allegiance to the Sun Devils. Though San Diego State reportedly offered, no switch was made and whether it is in 2011 or 2012, Chambers will be a Sun Devil.

Early Expectations for 2011: The first order of business is to determine whether ASU will have Chambers enroll this fall or delay his Sun Devils career. If he happens to be included in the 2011 roster, the very likely scenario is that he redshirts as nearly the entire primary depth chart at wide receiver consists of seniors.

QB Michael Eubank (Corona, Calif./Centennial HS)

Signing Day Evaluation: Simply put, as the dust settled on a stressful and tumultuous conclusion to ASU's 2011 recruiting efforts, obtaining Eubank's signature was the single most important objective for the Sun Devil coaching staff. A virtually nobody prior to his senior season, few recruits in the West catapulted into the national recruiting scene more effectively than Eubank after he threw for 2,831 yards with 22 touchdowns and only three interceptions to go along with 1,329 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.

Ultimately rated a four-star prospect, the No. 18 quarterback and the nation's No. 297 overall prospect by Scout.com, Eubank continued his regular season dominance into his postseason all-star efforts and completely captivated the attention of everyone involved with the NUC All-World Classic. Physically imposing both with his arm and feet, Eubank brings an element to the Sun Devil offense that hasn't been present in several years and his athletic upside is entirely through the charts.

Coach Erickson on Eubank: "Michael Eubank, what can you say? He's 6-5, 230-pounds, and he can run and throw. He was kind of a guy who was a sleeper early on in recruiting, just because he hadn't played a lot. As time went on, we were one of the first ones to offer him, and then all of a sudden, there were a bunch of people offering him. He visited a couple of other places, and he decided to stay at Arizona State. You take him and Mike [Bercovici], and I don't know if there's a team in the country that signed two quarterbacks as good as we did. A lot of times, you look at positions, and as we know, over the last couple of years here, you better have one to win a lot of football games. To me, one quarterback might be worth two or three recruits, depending on how good they are."

Eubank on ASU: "Definitely what put it over the top was that coach Mazzone is a great coach and the fact their offense is just like my high school offense. Also just to get a chance to work with a great coaching staff…I'm just glad I can add some extra help to a program that is already good."

Recruiting Battles: Eubank's recruitment –coupled with his immense value among a small volume class—created a highly dramatic conclusion to the process; one that Sun Devil fans weren't sure would work out in ASU's favor. As his process took a few rollercoaster turns over the cycle's final few weeks and ultimately became the most suspenseful of any serious prospect the Sun Devils pursued. Norm Chow's arrival to the Utah staff and general intrigue in an opportunity at Pittsburgh gave Eubank last-minute options to take into serious consideration.

In the end, Eubank disregarded a Pittsburgh hat and faked selecting a Utah one before sliding on a maroon Arizona State cap in a televised ceremony to once and for all cement his college destination.

Early Expectations for 2011: Much like with Bercovici, the question marks that exist in ASU's returning quarterback depth may create an opportunity for Eubank to see the field sooner rather than later. Athletically, Eubank has no peers among the current Sun Devil quarterbacks and similar to circumstances when the eagerly anticipated Brock Osweiler came to Tempe as a true freshman, if quarterback play is rocky next season you can bet fans will chant for Eubank to be handed the reins.

Assuming he will not be forced into duty if unprepared, Eubank will enter the competition upon his fall arrival. From a technical perspective, he could benefit from a redshirt year but his athleticism may prove to be too much of a ‘pro' to be overpowered by any ‘cons'.

OL Devin Goodman (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS)

Signing Day Evaluation: The No. 17 center prospect in the nation, Goodman brings promise to the future of the interior offensive line for the Devils. A strong contributor to former ASU commit Steward Butler's stellar rushing season in 2010, Goodman combines athleticism and physicality to be an intriguing option at guard or center.

Coach Erickson on Goodman: "I'm really excited about Devin Goodman. He's a guy from Florida. We went into Florida, not on a whim, but we had a couple of guys who were interested in coming here. We had some connections with Goodman, and at the end he became very heavily recruited. He's a little bit bigger than 6'2"; he's more like 6'3" and 270 lbs. We're going to play him at center, he could play guard, but he's an outstanding football player."

Recruiting Battles: With Butler and Gionni Paul both rescinding their commitments to ASU, many believed that some team would pry Goodman from ASU's list before it was all said and done. To Goodman's credit, no team made a significant push though Marshall offered and some in-state schools showed interest.

Early Expectations for 2011: With all three interior line starters – Mike Marcisz, Garth Gerhart and Andrew Sampson – back from 2010, Goodman is likely headed for a redshirt season in 2011, but after Marcisz and Gerhart graduate he will enter the fray for significant playing time in 2012.

P Josh Hubner (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain HS/Scottsdale CC)

Signing Day Evaluation: The top-ranked junior college punter in the country according to Scout.com, Hubner is as suitable an immediate replacement for All-American punter Trevor Hankins as could be found on this year's recruit market. Gaining Hubner's services was yet another direct win over Arizona, as they were the other main option to gain the Scottsdale native's commitment.

Hubner on ASU: "ASU is where my heart is at and it was a huge thing for me to get an offer from them. I grew up dreaming of playing in Sun Devil Stadium, and now getting to play there, I'm just on cloud-nine. What's so appealing to me about Arizona State is the fact that Dennis Erickson is one of the best college coaches ever in my opinion. I feel like I can be a part of something big at ASU. They also have a history of putting punters in the NFL."

Erickson on Hubner: "You have to have a punter. If you don't, you have problems. He was a guy from here, and he has a strong leg. We're excited about him."

Recruiting Battles: Though he had a handful of offers, there was no doubt that Hubner was going to stay in his home state with ASU and Arizona battling for his services. An official visitor in Tucson for ASU's double overtime victory over the Wildcats, the game and the Territorial Cup were not all the Devils took home to Tempe, as Hubner pledged to the Devils two days later and enrolled in school for the spring semester.

Early Expectations for 2011: With Hankins having graduated, it would take a spectacularly disappointing performance in the preseason for Hubner not to punt in 2011. Hubner likely will also serve as ASU's holder for placekicking attempts so in all actuality he may be one of the more important members of the signing class in terms of immediate need.

LB Kipeli Koniseti (Sacramento, Calif./Grant HS/College of the Sequoias)

Signing Day Evaluation: Just as he was when he signed with ASU in 2009, Koniseti was a last minute addition to this year's class to help the Devils add depth at linebacker. When he first entered the mix for the Sun Devils, fans were optimistic to how his tenacity would translate on the field for ASU. Though he had to take the long route and spend time at the junior college level before making his way to campus, Koniseti should be commended for his dedication to fulfill his initial pledge and hopefully his diligence can prove beneficial in game action.

Coach Erickson on Koniseti: "Kipeli Koniseti, who we signed a couple years ago, was a quarterback out of Grant High School. He qualified late and has been at College of the Sequoias. He started at quarterback for them the first four games. When we recruited him, we felt he was going to be a linebacker. They moved him to linebacker the last six games. He's going to be a middle linebacker. He can come in and learn that position. He's athletic, he can run, and he's a 240-pound middle linebacker. We're excited about him. He'll be here in the summertime."

Recruiting Battles: Since Koniseti (yet again) was an eleventh-hour development his recruitment obtained zero publicity, however reportedly Baylor, Fresno State and Nevada all pursued him.

Early Expectations for 2011: The main factor to consider for Koniseti is how adapted to the linebacker position he is after predominately focusing on quarterback in high school and part of junior college. To his credit, however, Koniseti has a Tebow-like quality in that he ruthlessly played quarterback with a linebacker's mentality, so his toughness never will be in question. Koniseti comes to ASU with a redshirt available, so the coaching staff will have options as far as the best way to prepare him to be a future contributor.


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