Introducing the 2003 Class: Michael Affleck

When you have one of the most explosive offenses in College Football it is only natural to attract one the best high school quarterbacks in the region. This theory received further validation when Michael Affleck signed with the Sun Devils. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview the signal caller talks about the recruiting process, his experiences in the prestigious Elite 11 camp, and competing with fellow incoming freshman Sam Keller for playing time.

As ironic as it may sound, this Student Sports Magazine four-star quarterback played on a high school team that did very little to showcase his skills. "My high school had some big offensive lineman." He said, "Four of them went to Division I schools, so we ran more than we passed. Even though I didn't get to pass that much on my team, my coach knew that I was a good passer." And at the end of his junior year so would ASU, even though Affleck himself was the one initiating contact.

"In my junior year I went to Arizona's spring practice," recalls the quarterback who was rated the best player in his home state of Utah. "And on the way back from there I swung by Tempe and met with (Quarterbacks) Coach Helfrich. I felt kinda stupid, because they didn't know who I was. But it was cool getting to know him and some other coaches. I doubted that I would end up there, because I didn't think they were interested." Affleck was proved wrong when the Sun Devils invited him to camp a few months later. "I went to ASU's camp in the summer, and then I really caught their eye. They were interested in me, and I realized during the camp that ASU was a great school, and has everything I want."

At that point, His stellar summer camp tour had just begun. He was voted the MVP of the Colorado camp, and he really turned heads in the USC one. "They (USC) saw me go head to head with the number one recruit in the nation, Kyle Wright, and they saw that I can play with him." His success in Los Angeles helped him fulfill his wish of receiving an invitation to the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp (Affleck is the first-ever Sun Devil quarterback to be invited and appear at this camp). "I knew about that camp before, and it was a goal of mine to be there…it was fun. Maybe Wright and Chris Leak were a little more consistent, but I felt I was in the top five there. We all got along really well. I made everyone there realize that you didn't have to come from a big school to be a good quarterback. I didn't know if I was gonna embarrass myself there, but I left a good impression and I had the strongest arm. It helped open people's eyes that I am a good passer. It also made me realize that I can fit in with these guys."

Following the Elite 11 camp Affleck narrowed down his choices between ASU and USC, while shunning hometown school BYU (where his father Dave was a standout football player). "BYU had a lot of quarterbacks, so I didn't want to go there. My family knows Norm Chow (USC's offensive coordinator) from our LDS Ward. I felt that I had a chance to play earlier at ASU, and I liked the offense better." His visit to the Valley of the Sun was another strong factor that helped him make up his mind when it came to his college of choice. "It was a great trip. (Linebacker) Jordan Hill was my host, and he's a really cool guy. I really admire him and respect him, and I got to be friends with him. He helped me get a feel of what it's like at ASU, and made me more confident about coming here." Despite watching the team in one of its losses during the 2002 season, the signal caller was deeply impressed. "I really liked the facilities, and watching the team play against North Carolina. Andrew Walter had like 400 yards passing, so that made me happy."

Not long after his official visit Affleck decided to pull the trigger. "I verbaled pretty soon after the trip. A quarterback by the name of Richard Kovlacheck was suppose to visit two weeks after me. ASU told me that if he committed, they weren't sure if they would hold a scholarship for me. The coaches told me that I was ASU's number one prospect, and that's why they had me in first. So, I made my decision a few days after I came back from my trip." Sun Devil coaches and followers rejoiced as they felt a great sense of satisfaction landing their number one choice. Everyone involved in ASU's recruiting was ready to move onto other positions, knowing that the quarterback situation was taken care of. However, a couple of months later a series of peculiar events, which would affect Michael Affleck, took place…

Within a span of a couple of weeks, backup quarterback Andy Goodenough quit the team, and Sam Keller, a once ASU recruit that committed to Michigan, de-committed and had his sights set on ASU. Affleck was naturally not thrilled about this development, but the Sun Devils' handling of the situation caused him to stick with his verbal commitment. "I was upset in the beginning because they said that they wouldn't take another quarterback, and knowing I could have gone to USC who didn't take any quarterbacks. As it is, it was hard to tell Norm Chow that I was going to ASU…but the coaches were always up front, and they said they may have to take another quarterback (following Goodenough's departure). If they did the whole thing behind my back, then I wouldn't come to ASU. They handled the whole situation very well."

The two heralded quarterback recruits met for the first time during ASU's spring game last April. Affleck recounts the meeting: "It was a pretty laid back meeting. He's a cool guy. He looks like a confident player, but I guess we both have to be confident if we're gonna do what we're gonna do…I don't know if it was a tense meeting, but I can already feel that the competition is gonna be there. We both know we're going head to head. But I look forward to it, because I know I won't hold back one bit. I just know that competition will make me a better quarterback."

There has been speculation that due to the fact that Affleck and Keller are entering the program the same year, that one of them is likely not to redshirt in order to space out the eligibility between the two. The Timpview High graduate weighs in with his thoughts: "The coaches haven't said anything about me or Sam not redshirting. They just told me to come in and work hard for the second string spot. I definitely think one of us won't redshirt. I'm not into redshirting. I'd like to play right away, and I think if I work hard I can be the backup."

Aside from the fine coaching that he is bound to receive, Affleck can also count on the player he wishes to backup and, eventually succeed one day. "I really can learn a lot from Andrew Walter. Everyone knows he learned a lot from last season, and he has a bright future ahead of him. I think it will be great to learn from his mistakes and experiences. He's a real disciplined and smart guy, and he seems like somebody that's willing to help out."

The quarterback is already considered the best to ever play at Timpview High. In his senior year he completed 129 of 212 passes for 2,063 yards and 22 touchdowns, with only nine interceptions. In his high school career he completed 234 out of 407 passes for 4,173 yards, 37 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The ASU incoming freshman characterizes his skills as follows: "One of my strong points are the quick feet I have for my size. I feel I have an overpowering arm, and I get the ball anywhere I want. I can also make a lot of plays on the run, break tackles, and get extra yards. But I do feel my bigger strength is as a pocket passer. Poise at the quarterback and reading defenses is the number one thing for a quarterback. I'm not doing bad at that, but I know I can be better."

Affleck is also quite the physical specimen. Aside from being blessed with a strong arm, he bench presses 340 pounds, squats 450 and recorded a 27 1/2-inch vertical jump. Nevertheless, he does strive to redefine his body. "I like that I'm physical. But I know if I tried to lose ten pounds, like I am trying right now, my game would be that much better. I'd be a lot quicker and faster. I still want to keep my strength, because it helps a lot in staying in the pocket and breaking tackles. There were a couple of times where I got to lay out the player who intercepted me. It was fun doing that, but obviously it wasn't fun having my ball intercepted…"

Along with virtually all of his recruiting class, Michael Affleck will start the school's bridge program on June 21st. He says that he has mixed feelings about cutting his summer vacation short. "The bridge program starts in ten days, and I just graduated a couple weeks ago. Coming down and starting school is a little hard for me to look at (smile). But I'm looking forward to the whole college experience, and working out with the team. I'm excited for all of it." One shouldn't be surprised if Affleck starts delivering his own excitement sooner rather than later in his ASU career.

Recruit Profile

Name Mike Affleck

High School Timpview HS (Provo, UT)

Position QB

Height 6-3

Weight 238

Date of Birth 12/3/84

Birthplace Provo, UT

Nickname "Affy or Afflac like that Duck TV commercial."

Favorite TV Show "Saturday Night Live."

Favorite Movie "Billy Madison."

Favorite Singer "Korn"

Favorite Food "Pizza."

Favorite Drink "Dr. Pepper."

Favorite Athlete "Steve Young."

Favorite Pro Team "San Francisco 49ers."

Person you most admire "Steve Young. He went to college here, and he's also in my LDS ward so I kind of know him. I just admire what he does, and how hard he works."

First Football Memory "I played flag football when I was seven. But my favorite memory is in eight grade when we won the Utah Valley championship. That season I realized my football potential."

One Thing most people don't know about me "I really like Golf. I'm actually a decent player."

Why did you choose ASU? "The offense. In high school I'd throw the ball 15 times a game if I were lucky. Here at ASU I'll air it out 30 times a game, and just thrive in this offense."

Where do you want to be in ten years? "NFL. If that doesn't work out. I ‘d like to be a coach somewhere. Probably in College."

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