LOI Day Evaluations and Expectations: Offense

Devils Digest's Joe Healey breaks down the offensive signees of ASU's 2012 recruiting class.

RB D.J. Foster

Signing Day Evaluation: Foster's abilities are undeniable and his potential impact on Arizona State's football program is virtually immeasurable. The holder of multiple Arizona high school football records and legitimately one of the state's most incredible athletes of all-time, for Foster to sign with ASU is a major feather in the cap of first-year head coach Todd Graham and hopefully will help improve the Sun Devils' recent in-state recruiting woes.

Todd Graham's Take: "Obviously a dynamic player, D.J. Foster, he's the so-called "jewel" of our class. But the thing that makes him special as I sat down to meet him for the first time at his school, I don't know that I've ever met a more dynamic player […] that was so impressive to talk to. This guy's character is unbelievable and I'm more excited about that to be honest with you. I'm pretty excited about those ten touchdowns in one game, too. We're real excited about the character that he brings. And that's the thing that through this whole class - each and every person that we signed - we're excited about the top young men that we're bringing here.

This guy we see as being a dynamic leader, and you look at a guy that rushed for over 3,000 yards, and this is the one that excites me, 60 touchdowns. That's absolutely amazing. He's a homerun hitter, he's a big-time hitter, he's an impact player, and he's got tremendous character. And in our system, is one that not everybody knows much about right know, but we utilize, two-back in the backfield a lot. We move people, and it's all about getting matchups, so we like our running backs who can play running back and can move out and play receiver and they're interchangeable. And guys that are like that are the ones that are really tremendous playmakers. And If we can put one of our running backs slash receivers on a linebacker, that makes it very difficult for them. But D.J. is a very dynamic, prolific tailback, also has tremendous ball skills out the backfield, again an all-American caliber player. A homerun player, he averaged 13 yards a carry, absolutely incredible.

Again, the best thing about D.J. is the incredible character he has, and the leadership that he has, and I'm so proud of him that he chose to stay here at home and to come out of this tunnel and to represent the state university here in Arizona. We're excited about him and just can't say enough great things about him. "

Recruiting Battles: Boasting dozens of major offers, when Foster's decision was made, California and USC were the primary competitors, with Nebraska and Oregon also earning official visits. Though California has an excellent recent history of 1,000-yard rushers and NFL running backs, Foster opted to follow the path to be a possible hometown hero in Tempe.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: The list of true freshmen most likely to play in 2012 certainly begins with Foster, as his athleticism and dynamic appeal may be second to no player on the Sun Devil roster. With Graham's desire to utilize multiple athletes in the backfield as well as the similarities between Foster's previous offense at Saguaro and what ASU figures to run, the transition could be very comfortable for Foster. Long term, expectations are very high for Foster as he plausibly should turn into an all-conference performer with NFL potential.

RB Terrell Davis

Signing Day Evaluation: The No. 101 running back recruit according to Scout.com, Davis is a unique prospect in a variety of ways. However, the Canadian product is a physical back and reliable ball carrier that may see action at multiple backfield positions during his Sun Devil career.

Todd Graham's Take: "Terrell Davis, another guy will be a three-back type player for us. A running back/three back type guy. Again, a guy that scored twenty touchdowns this season, very physical. We like diversity in our backfield and he's a guy that we're real excited about; and unbelievable character, we're really proud to have him part of our class."

Recruiting Battles: Shortly after Mike Leach was hired at Washington State, Davis no longer became part of the Cougars' recruiting plans. Aided by ASU's coaching connection to WSU with former Cougar staff member Chris Ball as one of Graham's new assistants, ASU secured a commitment from Davis. Following his pledge to ASU no major suitors interfered, though Idaho was also reportedly on Davis' offer sheet.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: As Graham mentioned on Signing Day, Davis' true role is yet to be defined. Undoubtedly he will redshirt in 2012 as he acclimates to the collegiate level of play, but his physical style and work ethic can create a "blue-collar" type or role in the backfield to assist the highlight reel qualities of classmates such as D.J. Foster.

RB Marion Grice

Signing Day Evaluation: A surprise addition to ASU's class, Grice totaled 2,221rushing yards and 33 touchdowns in two seasons at the junior college level, making him Scout.com's only four-star JUCO running back prospect in 2012. Though there is an abundance of talent at running back for the Sun Devils, there is uncertainty due to youth and injury concerns, making Grice's addition a tremendously valuable insurance policy.

Todd Graham's Take: "Marion was the number one JC running back in America. Absolutely versatile running back, he was a guy that's very physical and [an] explosive runner inside, so he provides big play capabilities and that's what we're looking for. One of the things [we like for] our offense is explosive plays, and how we describe that is plays of 25 yards or more that hid their head of the goalpost and score touchdowns.

So you look at that group of running backs and you put them with the guys that are already here and we're excited about the speed and explosiveness that we're going to put on the field. So, we're excited about that bunch, and really excited about Marion."

Recruiting Battles: After backing out of his commitment to Texas A&M, Houston and ASU emerged to the top of Grice's list, though he also acknowledged an interest in evaluating other schools, specifically from the Big XII Conference and the SEC. Many thought his recruitment figured to extend beyond signing day, so in what was the most substantial surprise in favor of the Sun Devils, Grice faxed his NLI to Tempe bright and early to cement his status with ASU.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: With other talent in the backfield and only two years to play at ASU, Grice will certainly have to hit the ground running upon his arrival to Tempe. He certainly has the credentials to earn playing time, as he is widely recognized by recruiting services as the top junior college running back in the nation. Grice has a redshirt to utilize, which could be utilized—though unlikely will—if the popular demand is for him to preserve eligibility until after senior Cameron Marshall departs after the 2012 season. In any event, Grice brings a running style rivaled only on the Sun Devil roster by Marshall.

WR Alonzo Agwuenu

Signing Day Evaluation: An accomplished performer at an area of dire need, Agwuenu caught 73 passes for 1,025 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore at Mt. San Antonio College last year. Tall, physical and productive, Agwuenu's presence is key with the losses of five senior wide receivers from the 2011 roster.

Todd Graham's Take: "Alonzo Agwuenu, obviously we had several guys graduate at that position, even though we've got tremendous confidence. As we watch our film of our receivers, we're excited and we're excited about the big play capabilities that we have at receiver and running back. But Alonzo is a deep threat, he's a guy that scored seventeen touchdowns, a big play. Again, an all American wide receiver in the JC ranks again, a big 6'4, 210 pound guy that's a big time deep threat for us.

Recruiting Battles: When it was first believed that Agwuenu would be a midyear transfer, Kentucky and Oregon State were the fiercest competitors for ASU. However, when it was determined that Agwuenu didn't meet midyear transfer requirements, Oregon, Oklahoma and a series of other Big XII teams entered the fray. Despite the increased attention, Agwuenu emphatically remained a Sun Devil through Signing Day.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: For those hung up on star and position rankings—throw Agwuenu's two-star Scout.com designation out the window. A highly productive performer for one of California's elite junior colleges, Agwuenu was highly coveted by many major FBS programs and has immense potential. With the losses of receivers such as Gerell Robinson and Mike Willie—players physically similar to Agwuenu—there is a clear opening for Agwuenu to quickly enter the lineup. With two years of eligibility and no redshirt year available, time is of the essence for Agwuenu, but there is no doubt that he has the skill set to be a two-year starter at ASU and a high-caliber producer in Todd Graham's high octane offense.

WR Josiah Blandin

Signing Day Evaluation: The No. 113 receiver prospect according to Scout.com, Blandin's appeal may be more long-term than immediate, but his height is appealing and helps ASU build a pipeline to traditional power Long Beach Poly High School.

Todd Graham's Take: "Josiah Blandin is 6-4, 185 pounds, one of our Poly kids, again a guy that has tremendous potential. We like those big, explosive guys on the outside."

Recruiting Battles: After Dennis Erickson's dismissal in December, Blandin opened a slight ear to the advances of schools such as Oregon State and UCLA, but the interest was far from mutual as he never strayed from his verbal pledge to the Sun Devils.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: Technically the lowest-rated prospect of the four Long Beach Poly players that signed with ASU, Blandin is an athlete that has the physical properties to develop into a compelling target for ASU. Height at wide receiver is always a valuable commodity, though focus on development is also crucial. The odds heavily favor Blandin redshirting in 2012, and that time can also be wisely spent physically developing to add size to his lean frame.

WR Richard Smith

Signing Day Evaluation: A shifty, dynamic receiver, Smith brings potential exceeding his 5-foot-9, 161-pound measurements. The leading receiver on Long Beach Poly last year, Smith has a bright future and will be a sure challenge for defenders to chase across the field.

Todd Graham's Take: "Richard's one of the most dynamic guys in this class, a very explosive player, a highly ranked wide receiver. Again, as you can see, he's 5'9, 161 pounds. So the diversity of how we use our receivers …the position that he plays will be called a two-back or move-receiver, our wide-receiver position, and that's a position that has more all-purpose yards in the history of college football in this offense. We think Richard is a very dynamic player that can come in and get big play, big play capabilities, and the second player from Poly that we've signed, so we're really excited."

Recruiting Battles: After the previous coaching staff's departure, Smith initially planned to consider schools such as California, Oregon State and UCLA, but when he met with the new coaches his desire to be a Sun Devil grew stronger than ever before. Ultimately, Smith canceled official visits set to other schools and emphatically publicized his allegiance to ASU by tweeting an image of other schools' recruiting letters engulfed in flames the night before Signing Day.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: Though he's small in stature, Smith brings big-play ability to Tempe. An explosive receiver with the speed and agility to beat defenders, his ceiling is very high at the college level. With players such as Jamal Miles and A.J. Pickens returning as seniors in 2012, Smith's services may not immediately be mandatory, but his future is very bright both at receiver and on special teams.

TE Kody Kohl

Signing Day Evaluation: A lifelong Sun Devil fan and brother of former ASU tight end Trevor Kohl, Kody Kohl was a prolific tight end and outside linebacker in high school and brings an impressive work ethic and on-field résumé to ASU.

Todd Graham's Take: "Tight end, Kody Kohl, in our offense we have what we call a three-back which is a move tight end. The thing about Kody that I love, obviously another guy that's a part of our family here already, we've got his brother here as well. This guy's tough, hard-nosed tough. I mean, I love sitting in his living room and visiting with him and watching the intensity in this guy's eyes. And obviously [he] loves this place, loves this university and we're excited about what he's going to be able to do at our three-back position.

Recruiting Battles: No player committed to ASU defined "commitment" as much as Kohl—which comes as no surprise because his older brother, former ASU tight end Trevor Kohl, is one of the most dedicated Sun Devils to recently play for ASU. Through the coaching change not only did Kody Kohl stay true to his commitment to ASU but also publicly acknowledged that he prefers the personalities and philosophies of Todd Graham and staff compared to those of their predecessors.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: Though the "blue collar" designations routinely surface when discussing either member of the Kohl family at ASU, it should not be overlooked that Kody was a physical, talented all-state performer at Mesquite High in Gilbert. With very minimal overall experience at tight end for the Sun Devils the position—which figures to have two definitions with one at the line of scrimmage and one in basically an H-back role—assumes to be a wide open competition. If Kohl, who is likely fitted for an H-back type of role, arrives at fall camp physically ready to compete, he'll likely battle Max Smith to determine if he plays or redshirts in 2012.

TE Darwin Rogers

Signing Day Evaluation: Though his presence on the signee list isn't as flashy as many of his fellow new Sun Devils, Rogers brings college game experience to an area of substantial need. A former high school quarterback and one-time Illinois signee, Rogers's physical talents earned him a scholarship to ASU and may provide the opportunity for ample playing time.

Todd Graham's Take: "Darwin Rogers, he will play our end line tight end position and again there's three different positions with end line tight end. A big physical athlete, a guy that's a former quarterback. A guy that's here right now training and we're excited about him."

Recruiting Battles: With reported offers from Eastern Michigan, New Mexico State and Utah State, when Todd Graham came calling shortly after arriving at ASU, the opportunity to play in the Pac-12 for Arizona State was more than enough to earn Rogers' immediate commitment.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: With Kohl as the class's three-back/H-back of the class, Rogers figures to fill the more traditional line of scrimmage role. Though he was not a major recruit in terms of star rankings and competing offers, ASU is so depleted at the position that the team had a desperate need for a tight end that is immediately physically prepared. With returning scholarship players such as Max Smith and Josh Fulton as the only technical tight ends on the roster, Rogers has a viable shot to top the depth chart, especially given the advantageous fact that he will participate in spring practice. Though he is unlikely the next Zach Miller or Todd Heap for ASU, Rogers likely will strive to be more of a Lee Burghgraef role player for the Sun Devils.

OL Evan Goodman

Signing Day Evaluation: One of ASU's two Scout 300 members, Goodman, Scout.com's No. 16 national offensive tackle recruit, was a priority target from day one and Sun Devil fans are elated he has chosen to call Tempe home. With offensive line being a major concern for several years, Goodman's presence at tackle figures to be a step toward solidifying better blocking for the Sun Devils.

Todd Graham's Take: "We are so excited about Evan Goodman as a playmaker, dynamic player, explosive player, a guy we think can be an impact player for us. A guy that is obviously family to us. His brother Devin is here but really excited about his potential. One of the most explosive, athletic players and one of the most explosive, athletic tackles in the entire country. And again was a very highly-ranked player but I'm telling you one of the things we want to do is be a physical football team and this guy is big time physical. And we're very excited about Evan."

Recruiting Battles: Amid a slew of high-caliber offers, though Goodman committed to ASU early, schools such as Arkansas and Nebraska remained competitive through the late stages of the recruiting period. Sun Devil fans began to stress the late stages as the Razorbacks and Cornhuskers were persistent in trying to flip Goodman, but all anxiety was calmed when he remained true to his pledge and signed with ASU.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: If he played virtually any other position, Goodman might not only be a lock to play, but a strong candidate to start as a true freshman purely based on talent. As is common football knowledge, offensive line—especially tackle—is a challenging spot for players fresh out of high school to step into. However, ASU has undeniable openings at tackle other than returning starter Evan Finkenberg, so the opportunity clearly exists for Goodman. Whether his tenure starts in 2012 or 2013, Goodman is expected to be a career starter at either left or right tackle with the clear potential to be a consistent candidate for all-conference accolades.

OL Stephon McCray

Signing Day Evaluation: Physically impressive, McCray was rated the No. 63 offensive guard recruit in the country by Scout.com. With only three offensive line commits in the class and only two the previous year, though he isn't quite a blue-chip prospect, his presence is very important to the future of the line.

Todd Graham's Take: "Stephon McCray another big time offensive tackle. Again, 6-4, 300-pound athletic frame. A guy that's big for us. You will see we're going to go pretty fast so we need guys that are athletic and obviously we're going to spin that ball a little bit and protect that edge. And Stephon brings a great deal of athleticism and power that were excited about. We can play him at tackle or kick him to the guard position."

Recruiting Battles: Fresno State was the only school remotely under consideration for McCray, who gave the Bulldogs a slight review after Dennis Erickson's firing from ASU. Ultimately, the competition had no formal substance as ASU was unchallenged in earning McCray's signature.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: A likely redshirt in 2012, McCray has the physical stature to be a force on the Sun Devil line in the future. If he finds a full-time home at guard, 2013 could offer an opportunity for him to compete to start as seniors Andrew Sampson and Brice Schwab will depart from the position group.

OL William McGehee

Signing Day Evaluation: A total unknown before the weekend prior to Signing Day, the jury is very much still out on McGehee. Technically there are multiple rough spots, which is to be assumed since his football career began in 2010 as a high school senior. His true talents may not be seen for a year or two, but the coaching staff sees enough physical potential to have long-term patience in McGehee.

Todd Graham's Take: "Billy McGehee is an offensive tackle. Kind of a diamond in the rough that we found that is a guy that actually has four years to play three. Coming out of a junior college in Texas. A big athlete, a guy that has tremendous potential that we're very very excited about. A guy that you know that not many people knew about and is one who will be exciting for you to watch for years to come and one of our big needs was our offensive line and we felt that we met some of those needs and is something that we thought we needed some immediate help there as well and the depth and so lead by Evan we feel that that was a great group there."

Recruiting Battles: McGehee's limited football background and unique connection to Todd Graham made him a total unknown as recently as a week before Signing Day. With that level of anonymity, McGehee had no schools rivaling ASU's pursuit.

Long and Short-Term Expectations: More than any player that signed with ASU, McGehee is the biggest "boom or bust" candidate of the 2012 class. He has the physical size to excel and also offers the advantage of a four-to-play-three transfer. Ideally, McGehee probably should redshirt in 2012 after having played only two years of organized football entering this season. As his career evolves, if McGehee can acclimate to the demands of the position the former basketball standout could be a solid pickup for the Sun Devils.


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