Signing Day Evaluation: Rated as the No. 86 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com, Latu is a massive, powerful tackle that appears to have a bright future on the Sun Devil defensive line. A star at both center and defensive tackle for Perry High, Latu earned All-Arizona 5A honors and was named an Under Armour All-American after collecting 50 tackles and 3.0 sacks as a senior in 2010. Despite his novice status in the college world, he undoubtedly will be one of the strongest players on the entire team upon his fall arrival as he reports a 405-pound bench press capability.
Coach Erickson on Latu: "Having watched, and having had him in camp, he might be the most underrated player that we signed. He's 310 lbs. and he's strong. He's a force at defensive tackle, and the things that we do; he could come in and play some as a freshman."
Latu on ASU: "The thing I liked about (ASU) so much is the coaches, the program and the athletes that go there," Latu said. "I like the facilities and the school itself and the best part is I get to play in front of my family. The coaches (at ASU) are amazing and the players are outstanding. It's a great school and I like the mentality of coach (Grady) Stretz and how he works with the defensive line. I feel that I can fit into this program very well."
Recruiting Battles: Latu earned a solid amount of recruiting attention, with schools such as Missouri, Oregon, Hawaii and Utah being in closest competition to ASU. However, at the end of the day, Tempe was the only official visit he made and Latu ultimately pulled the trigger in favor of the Devils in late January.
Early Expectations for 2011: The initial hurdle for Latu to clear is that of academic qualifications, but the staff remains confident that he will be able to do so. If he is able to make his way to Tempe this fall, Latu will almost certainly be in line to compete for playing time as a true freshman behind the primary defensive tackle trio of Corey Adams, Bo Moos and Will Sutton. With the graduation of Saia Falahola, early departure of Lawrence Guy and the loss of two recruits (Todd Peat and Matt Ramondo) that were either committed to ASU or largely expected to do so, Latu moves to the head of the class and can viably compete for second-team reps this fall.
LB Isreal Marshall (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: Widely regarded as the state of Arizona's top senior linebacker, "Izzy" is an active, versatile defender that coaches have compared to current Green Bay Packer Nick Barnett, who the staff mentored while at Oregon State. Rated by Scout.com as the No. 88 safety in the country, Marshall will prepare to play outside linebacker at ASU and he collected 67 tackles and 2.0 sacks as a senior in 2010 en route to All-Arizona honors.
Coach Erickson on Marshall: "Israel Marshall is a guy that we offered early. He was the first linebacker that we did offer. He played safety, and then moved up, but he can run. He's the kind of guy that we want in our defense. I'm really excited about him and what he can do."
Marshall on ASU: "I know that if I need anything that (ASU's) coaches will take care of me and I'll also have my family close by," said Marshall. "The coaches made a strong impression on my Grandmother and she thought they were respectful people and she also felt very comfortable with them. She got that vibe from them and I obviously felt the same way."
Recruiting Battles: In an indirect way, Marshall was involved in perhaps the most tragic event of the recruiting season as he had initially favored Boise State but the Broncos accepted a commit from linebacker Emil Smith. Sadly, Smith was killed in a car accident this past summer, but prior to that point ASU had merged to the top of Marshall's list and he committed to the Sun Devils on Sept. 4. Boise State attempted to get back involved with Marshall to fill the linebacker void and Arizona and Colorado State also offered, but Marshall remained a Sun Devil through signing day.
Early Expectations for 2011: With a plethora of seniors at all three linebacker positions this season, it is highly unlikely that Marshall sees the field as a true freshman. He can use the season to pack on some mass to his frame and prepare to help supplant the four outside linebackers –Oliver Aaron, Shelly Lyons, Brandon Magee and Colin Parker – that will depart after the 2011 season.
DT David Moala (Gardena, Calif./Serra HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: Rated the No. 92 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com, Moala may not have prototypical size for the position but his physical nature and tenure on one of the nation's elite prep teams should be more than enough to prepare him for college ball. As a senior at Serra High, Moala posted sensational numbers of 91 tackles with 18.5 sacks and was an active menace in opposing backfields.
Coach Erickson on Moala: "David Moala, a defensive linemen, got a lot of offers in the last two or three weeks of recruiting. He's a lot like Will Sutton. He's 6'1", but he's 290 lbs. and he has great quickness."
Moala on ASU: "The thing that really impressed me the most (about ASU) was how serious the players were preparing for the season," Moala said. "I liked how the (Sun Devils') defensive line played hard, fast and nasty."
Recruiting Battles: Though he received offers from Colorado, Colorado State, San Diego State and San Jose State, Miami (Fla.) was the strongest competition to ASU as he visited ‘The U' a week before his tour of Tempe. As signing day approached, the ‘Canes heated up their pursuit to try to sway Moala from the pledge he made to ASU immediately after his late-January visit, but in the end his signing day fax started with the 480 digits to officially make him a Sun Devil.
Early Expectations for 2011: As with Latu, a window of opportunity exists for a defensive tackle from this class to earn immediate playing time – though it seems to be a stretch that both will. With Latu having academic concerns and the general possibility that Moala could out-play him in camp, it can't be undeniably claimed that Moala will automatically be headed to the scout team in his first year.
DE Sean O'Grady (Las Flores, Calif./Tesoro HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: After totaling 55 tackles and 11.0 sacks in 2010, O'Grady was rated the No. 123 defensive end prospect in the nation by Scout.com. His addition continues what has become a three-year string of Tesoro grads to attend ASU, as former teammates Sil Ajawara and Evan Finkenberg blazed the trail to Tempe that O'Grady has followed.
Coach Erickson on O'Grady: "Sean O'Grady probably didn't get as much publicity as some of the other people, but we've been watching him for a long time. In my home visit, he was 245 lbs. He's a guy who wanted to come here. He committed to us early, and then just worked on getting better. He can run. If you watch him on tape, he's a darn good football player."
O'Grady on ASU: "I knew this was the place for me and my parents liked it too. My parents were obsessed with (ASU)," said O'Grady. "They loved the `Scholar Baller' program and how basically everyone that's been there in the last four years as graduated if they've put the effort in."
Recruiting Battles: A verbal commit to ASU before his senior season even started, O'Grady earned offers from Colorado State, San Diego State and Washington State but never visited or publicly considered alternatives after his pledge to the Sun Devils.
Early Expectations for 2011: With the freshman phenom Junior Onyeali, 2010 breakout player Jamaar Jarrett and Territorial Cup hero James Brooks all back in action at end, O'Grady will certainly have his work cut out for him to early immediate time. However, it is in his favor that seniors Dean DeLeone and Jamarr Robinson exit, while redshirt freshman Jordan McDonald may still be a physical project to be prepared for reps at end, while Gregory Smith went from true freshman contributor in 2009 to a total non-factor in 2010. Despite O'Grady's low recruiting rankings, he may have a chance to fill an area of need in the fall.
OL Vi Teofilo (Phoenix, Ariz./Moon Valley HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: Though it sounds like typical home team sour grapes, Teofilo is a much better player than his two-star, No. 101 offensive guard rating would imply as he is an aggressive, powerful and athletic blocker with a strong wrestling background. Also a fearsome defensive tackle, ASU's coaches have very high expectations for Teofilo's future on the Sun Devil line.
Coach Erickson on Teofilo: "Vi Teofilo is somebody we had in our camp out of Moon Valley. He's 6'3" and 280-pounds. This guy is a guard that's physical, big and athletic. He's probably very underrated compared to some of the people who have played that same position. We're excited about him."
Recruiting Battles: Oregon State was always the most significant opposition to ASU, while Nebraska entered the mix late and Fresno State, New Mexico State and San Diego State also battled for Teofilo before he pledged to ASU.
Early Expectations for 2011: With both starting guards (Mike Marcisz and Andrew Sampson) returning as well as reserves Brice Schwab, Kody Koebensky, Sil Ajawara and Chris DeArmas, there appears to be no need to force Teofilo into immediate action.
CB Rashad Wadood (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: The first player to commit to ASU for the Class of 2011, Wadood was a standout running back and cornerback for a formidable Lakewood team. The No. 60 cornerback prospect in the nation, Wadood totaled 40 tackles and three interceptions as a senior in addition to 800 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
Coach Erickson on Wadood: "Rashad Wadood committed early to us. He's an outstanding football player. We thought he was the best corner out there."
Wadood on ASU: "The more I kept thinking about it, the more I knew that it didn't matter who offered me," Wadood said. "I was going to commit to Arizona State regardless. The ASU coaches showed me the most love and were great through the process (and) when I visited there I loved it."
Recruiting Battles: Colorado and Miami (Fla.), both with new coaching staffs, made a major late push for Wadood and Colorado State, Idaho and Washington State also offered but in the end, though coupled by some beads of sweat by ASU fans, Wadood held true to his ASU commitment.
Early Expectations for 2011: With LeQuan Lewis having graduated and Josh Jordan having transferred to Howard, there certainly could be room for Wadood to play as a true freshman. Though Omar Bolden, Deveron Carr and Osahon Irabor seem entrenched as the top three corners, Wadood likely will battle with redshirt freshman Devan Spann—who missed significant time due to surgery as a redshirt freshman last year—to round out the depth at cornerback. Sophomore Alden Darby may be an option at either cornerback or safety, but it would be no surprise to see Wadood in action immediately.
OL Brent Walker (Norco, Calif./Norco HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: A massive lineman, Walker can play either guard or tackle at the college level. Rated as the No. 44 offensive guard recruit in the country by Scout.com, if he is able to meet academic qualifications he will join fellow Norco alums Carl Bradford, Garth Gerhart, Kyle Johnson, Deantre Lewis and Adam Tello on ASU's roster.
Coach Erickson on Walker: "We offered Brent Walker early, and we did some research on him academically. He's going to be fine. He's one of the better tackles around. He's what you want, 6'5" and 300 lbs. He's in that group of three, and we can put him with the three that we got this year, that gives us a group of six young guys, which is kind of what it's all about in the offensive front. It's something we've been working toward for a long time."
Recruiting Battles: Walker's recruitment was a curious creature as he reportedly committed to ASU in late December but seemingly unbeknownst to him, the Sun Devils believed that his academic portfolio was terminal and would not accept his pledge. Lo and behold, as signing day approached the staff reinvestigated his scholastic standing and allowed him to be part of its class. In terms of recruiting competition, UCLA was the most considerable adversary while Miami (Fla.) reportedly entered the equation at a late point. Colorado State is also listed as having extended an offer to walker.
Early Expectations for 2011: More than any player ASU signed, Walker is surrounded by academic uncertainty. If he is able to clear those complications, he likely will spend 2011 as a redshirt and prepare be a factor further down the road on the active roster. He has the physical status to be an intriguing prospect, but depth along the offensive line figures to be abundant enough in 2011 to prevent any newcomers from being expected to play right away.