Prospects talk ASU spring game, recruitment

Some came here for the weekend, some stayed over a week. Yet, regardless of the length of their trip to Tempe the 2012 prospects Devils Digest talked to said that their unofficial visit to Arizona State and attendance at the Sun Devils' spring game was time well spent.

6-2 205 pound Linebacker/safety Seth Jacobs arrived at Arizona State in time to catch their Thursday practice session. We caught up with the all-state selection from Arroyo Grande (Calif.) High School on Saturday afternoon to discuss his Tempe visit which just ended.

"It was a great visit, the campus is really nice and there is a lot going on there," Jacobs said. "It's a just a good area that has a good campus life. I didn't know what to expect from the university but they have a lot to offer. I enjoyed my visit.

"I was really impressed with the talent level of this team and how much potential they have. They have a chance to have a really good season."

Jacobs was somewhat surprised over the offensive domination in ASU's spring game, but did see a silver lining to it.

"The question was about their offense and whether or not they could do well against such a great defense," Jacobs explained. "They definitely produced today and put up a lot of points. There are no questions now. The defense just needs to tighten up and they have great potential to do well in the Pac-12 this year."

Jacobs is being recruited as an outside linebacker by the Sun Devils, but the possibility of playing safety has also been discussed during his recruitment. Since he plays both roles on his high school squad (and some snaps at quarterback to boot) he does feel comfortable with whatever position he will play at the next level.

While attending the Sun Devils' position meeting and breaking down film, Jacobs became found of the defense's style of play.

"They fly around and it's exciting to watch," Jacobs commented. "They have one of the top run defenses in the league. They explained to me how they did that and it was interesting to learn."

As a junior Jacobs posted 106 tackles, four passes defended four sacks and eight interceptions. Aside from ASU, he currently has offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Oregon State, SMU, UCLA, Washington and Washington State.

USC, Stanford and Oregon State have already received unofficial visits from Jacobs, who indicated that currently he has no plans for future visits in the off-season.

"I'll have to talk that over with my family," Jacobs stated. "I might be heading back east for my cousin's graduation and I might visit some schools while I'm down there. But nothing's set, so we'll see.

"I'm just trying to find which school is best for me. ASU stood out this weekend, and Oregon State is a good place. I can't fall in love with a place. I just have to figure out which school is the best for me."

Jacobs anticipated his decision to come very close to Letter of Intent day, and he expressed his desire to take all five official visits before making his decision.

"The football program has to be successful," Jacobs said in regards to the factors that will affect his decision. "As long as I feel that football is going well for me the overall experience will be good. If the football isn't good I won't like it. Definitely education is a key factor, tradition and all that, and whether or not I could live there for four years.

"I just want to go to a place where I will feel comfortable."

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Defensive end Kyle Kelley visited the University of Arizona on Friday before making the drive up the I-10 to visit its archrival.

"It was great and I really had a good time," said the 6-3 230 pound Kelley. "I loved (defensive line) coach Brown and the way he teaches. I loved all the coaches I met with and it was great meeting them in person. The city is great. I loved the facilities, especially the bubble (indoor facility) and the weight room. The new uniforms are very nice, especially the black on black. Those are really cool.

"I had a good feeling about the school and it (the visit) did fulfill my expectations. I heard great things about the stadium and it was really nice. The apartments where you live after your freshman year (Vista Del Sol)…I have never seen anything like that."

As a junior at Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge High School, Kelley registered 88 tackles, five fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, two blocked field goals and a blocked punt. He reported a 40-yard dash time of 4.82 seconds. In the weight room he reported marks of 255 lbs. in both benching and power clean and 415 lbs. squatting.

"The coaches like my motor, my quickness and my pass rushing skills," Kelley remarked. "Most of the schools (including ASU) are recruiting me as a defensive end; other coaches told me that I could be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme."

Colorado, UCLA, Florida, North Carolina State, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington and Washington State are other programs who have offered Kelley along with the Sun Devils.

"I visited Colorado earlier this month," Kelley said. "UCLA I visited earlier in the week and that's when they offered me. Next weekend I am visiting Washington. I'm going to the Nike combine, but I don't have any plans right now to go to any team camps this summer but I might go to a couple of those.

"This summer I'm going to try to get to all the schools that have offered me. Then before the season starts if I have all my questions answered I will make my decision. If not, I will take official visits in the fall to some of the schools that I like."

The defensive end said that distance from home won't influence his decision, but there are other dynamics that will make an impact.

"I'm looking for a school with good academics, as well as good coaches," Kelley said. "I want to see how they are with people, how they coach and what kind of relationship they have with their players. The school obviously has to have a good atmosphere and be a place where I can see myself spending four, five years."

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For Gardena (Calif.) Serra Thomas Brown, this past weekend marked the first time the linebacker had visited ASU, one of only two schools to offer him (the other being SMU).

"It was very nice and very interesting," he said of his visit. "I got there Friday and we toured the whole campus, dorms, facilities, weight room and locker room. Basically they showed you what life at ASU would be. The weight room is the one thing that really caught my eye, so was the bubble. I love the new uniforms too.

"It was just a great atmosphere. It was just awesome."

Brown was also impressed with the scheme that the ASU linebackers play in.

"I like how the linebackers play downfield all the time flying the ball," Thomas commented. "But there isn't a lot of chaos because you do play under control. It's a system that isn't hard but it's also not simple.

All in all, in recruiting terms this past weekend didn't do anything but elevate ASU's stature with Brown.

"This visit was a lot more than I expected," Brown said. "I'm still going to wait this (recruiting process) out but ASU is definitely at the top."

***

Byron Marshall, brother of ASU running back Cameron, spent his entire spring break in Tempe. For the San Jose Valley Christian Schools running back, his 10-day stay was much more than just an unofficial visit.

"I wanted to spend time with my brother because I don't get to hang out with him that much," Marshall said. "I also spent time with the football program. I went to a couple of (position) meetings. One day I spent time talking to the coaches, taking a tour of the facilities and campus. I thought the campus was really nice and I liked my visit. It went well.

"I was really impressed with how the team practices and plays. I know it's probably not a surprise because people are predicting them to be really good, but it was encouraging to see that. You can tell they are ready to have a very good year."

You can certainly count Marshall as another observer who was taken aback by the events that took place in the spring game.

"The ASU defense usually plays well but they gave up a lot of points," Marshall stated. "The offense obviously played really well and made a lot of plays. You can tell that ASU is going to have a very good offense, but I know their defense will play better than they did today (Saturday)."

When attending the running back meetings, Marshall grew fond of the spread, no huddle offense which often features a lot of motion by the running backs.

"They are a lot of little things that the offense has to do to make it all work," Marshall explained. "They have to be technically sound too. It's a fun offense for running backs and in a spread (offense) you really have a lot of room to run the ball because the defense is spread out."

When asked what is the biggest thing he took out of this visit from a recruiting standpoint Marshall replied: "I could tell how much they wanted me to be part of the team."

Blake Keathley contributed to this article


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