"The offer came pretty quickly after I sent them the tape," O'Grady recalled. "I could tell that they genuinely wanted me there. The coaches talked to Evan and Sil about me so that obviously helped with the offer."
Running backs coach Bryce Erickson, recruited Orange County and the town of Las Flores (Calif.) at the time. He was the first ASU staff member to make contact with O'Grady.
"He is just the coolest guy to deal with and he keeps everything real," O'Grady stated. "He would be just the sickest coach to have on your team."
The defensive end took an unofficial visit to Tempe in August where he met with then ASU's defensive line coach Grady Stretz. His commitment to the Sun Devils followed a week later
"He was another real cool coach to deal with," O'Grady commented. "My dad really liked him too. He was straight up with me about the depth chart, told me what I needed to do once I got here and just seemed like a great guy to deal with for the next four, five years of my life."
Less than a week after Letter of Intent Day, Stretz resigned from his position with the Sun Devils and was hired by the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an assistant defensive line coach position.
"He told not to worry about him leaving and that everything was going to be alright," O'Grady said in reference to his last conversation with Stretz. "It was obviously a great opportunity for him and his family and he couldn't pass it up and I totally understand. I love Grady and so do my parents but I also like a lot of the coaches that are still there."
Ironically, Stretz's replacement at ASU, Scott Brown, recruited the defensive end while he was coaching at Colorado State. Therefore, O'Grady is familiar with his new position coach and recalls Brown as being "an awesome guy" while he was recruiting him last year.
San Diego State and Washington State also offered O'Grady, who mentioned USC and especially Arizona showing interest in him late in the process. Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington were other schools that pursued O'Grady.
Former Titan teammates Ajawara and Finkenberg naturally educated O'Grady about the Sun Devils and provided invaluable information that helped him arrive at his decision.
"They just told me everything about the program, both the ups and the downs," O'Grady explained. "There are obviously not a lot of downs because I ended up signing with them. They told me about the whole camaraderie with the coaches and the players. They told me that players go hard at it against each other in practice, but after practice is over everybody gets along really well like nothing happened.
"They are really sincere about how much they love it out there. They could not be happier with their decision. It's funny because they were looking at all the same schools I was looking at and when they talked to me about ASU it's like they read my mind about what I wanted to know. I felt a good vibe when I was there and when I left I know I was going to end up there. I am so stoked to have signed with ASU you have no idea."
The depth chart at defensive end is favorable for an incoming freshman such as O'Grady. Nonetheless, he said that style of play of his position at each school that was pursuing him did factor heavily into his decision.
"When I looked at schools I looked where they lined up their defensive ends," O'Grady pointed out. "A lot of schools were lining them up inside the tackles and playing almost like defensive tackles. They would just bull rush every play.
"When I watched ASU's games they lined up the defensive ends in the same style I played in - coming off the edge and do whatever you need to do to rush the passer. They were looking for a rush end and that is basically what I did."
As a senior O'Grady totaled 55 tackles, 11.0 sacks, five pass deflections, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. As a junior he tallied 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
"In my senior year I was always getting doubled off the line," O'Grady remarked. "But I did get more sacks this past year. My junior year I was using my speed more and this year when I was stronger. I was making plays by manhandling players.
"I really think committing early took a lot of stress off of me and helped me have a good senior year. A lot of coaches weren't calling me because they know I was already committed so that helped me focus on my senior year. Committing early is one of the best decisions I ever made."
In the weight room O'Grady bench presses 360 pounds and squats 485. He posted a mark of 4.7 in the 40-yard dash.
"Even though I already gained some weight I know I still have to get a lot stronger," O'Grady acknowledged. "I am lifting six days a week and that is something I really wanted to work on before I get to college. I also want to get quicker off the ball."
These days O'Grady continues to follow strength and conditioning off-season program sent to him by the ASU staff as he prepares to arrive in Tempe with the rest of the team's newcomers in the first week of July.
"I'm going to go whatever I need to do to get as strong as possible and as fast as possible," O'Grady said. "If that gets me ready to play as a freshman then that's great. If not, then I will redshirt and that's the way it is. The coaches wanted me to come at 245 lbs. and I am already at that weight and I'm still getting faster.
"So if I work to my max potential and kick my own ass in the weight room everyday I do have a legit chance to play as a freshman."
Tesoro, Las Flores, Calif.
Date of Birth
Laguna Niguel, Calif.
"Don't have one at all."
Favorite TV Show
"Boondock Saints ."
"Sublime and Bob Marley if I want to relax. I listen to more hard core music when I'm lifting."
"Arizona Ice Tea."
Favorite Pro Team
"Green Bay Packers."
Person you most admire
"My dad. He has always been there for me and pushing me. He has always helped me keep focused on my goals and making sure I don't take shortcuts. He played offensive line in college in Nevada so he helped me with my technique too."
First Football Memory
"Playing in Junior Pee Wee and we ended up ranked second in the nation. That's when I really fell in love with football."
One Thing most people don't know about me
"I do meditation exercises to keep my mind clam and relief stress after workouts. It helps my flexibility too."
Why did you choose ASU?
"It's hard to narrow it down to one reason. I liked the coaches, the campus, having friends there…I just liked everything about the school."
Where do you want to be in ten years?
"I just want to be very successful no matter what I am doing."