Introducing The 2003 Class: Brett Palmer

The allure of the recruiting process can be very appealing to 17-18 year old players. All expense road trips and constant attention can do wonders, for good or for bad, to one's ego. This is the reason why players such as Brett Palmer are so unique. The defensive tackle simply did not want the recruiting distractions to plague his senior year, and as a result he committed to the Devils back in April of 2002. Palmer talks about this topic and many more in this exclusive DevilsDigest interview.

Brett Palmer, regarded as one of the top five high school players in the state of Arizona, was surprisingly very unassuming when colleges started to recruit him. "I remember my junior year where (ASU's recruiting coordinator) Coach Nordquist came into the weight room at my high school watching me work out and talking to my coach. I didn't have much interest, and I thought he just came to see me like other coaches did. I never knew they were serious until I got letters and phone calls. After some time they offered me, and I didn't expect that. When they offered, I accepted."

Rated as the No. 10 defensive tackle by PacWestFootball.com, the local Marcos De Niza player received considerable recruiting attention by Pac-10 schools such as Washington, Washington State, U of A, Oregon, Oregon State, as well as Illinois, Michigan, and Notre Dame. "I kept everything low key. I really didn't want to go through the process, because it wasn't that fun. It was fun getting it out of the way and committing early. Once I got to meet the ASU coaches, get to know the players, and see the facilities, that was just perfect for me."

Palmer mentioned that U of A had offered a scholarship right around the same time ASU did, and Washington was about to, but didn't when he verbaled to the Sun Devils. As is the case with high profile recruits, the recruiting attention didn't slow down even after his announcement. To his credit, Palmer tried his hardest not to create any false hopes with his suitors. "Schools were still knocking on my door, and they were trying to get me all the time to come and visit. Indiana and Boise State wanted me to visit real bad. I really just tried to avoid all the phone calls. I didn't want to lead them on."

One of Palmer's good friends on the team is fellow defensive lineman and incoming freshman Kyle Caldwell. The defensive end took a much different route when it came to his recruiting, by taking four official visits and declaring his verbal commitment late in the recruiting year. Palmer told us that even after talking to his buddy on this topic, he wouldn't change a thing. "I don't regret not taking visits. I think it would take away from my senior year and my schoolwork. Kyle Caldwell told me that even though those visits were fun, they really took a lot away from school work, and he would come to practices tired." Another topic the two discuss is the opportunity of both of them starting on ASU's defensive line and giving it a hometown flavor. "Sometimes we talk about it. We know we have a chance to make a name for ourselves on the defensive line. But we also know that we have to work hard to break the mold, get into shape, because we're just starting out. We have a long ways to go if we want to play. We're just trying to do the best we can."

A freshman year in college always involves the inventible evolution from living with your parents, to moving out and living with your teammates. Palmer says that this week he'll be able to better assess how hard or easy this transition will be. "Sunday (June 22nd) I move into the dorms. So for the first time I'll wake up and not have breakfast ready (smile) - that's something new to get used to. I'll guess I'll find out Monday morning when I wake up how different it's gonna be…other players told me it's hard the first couple of weeks, but then you just get used to it."

Palmer was a three-year starter at defensive end in high school, where he collected 12 career sacks (second in all-time sacks at Marcos de Niza), and led the team in sacks and tackles for loss during his junior and senior seasons. Thus, playing at tackle is still somewhat of a venture into uncharted waters. "Originally I was defensive end, so being a defensive tackle is kinda new to me. (ASU's defensive line) Coach Monachino and me talk all the time, and watch film just to get used to everything. I'm set to be a defensive tackle. After a couple weeks of workout I'm up to 295 lbs, but if I need down the road to lose some weight so I can play defensive end I can do that. But right now all my focus is at defensive tackle."

Even though he was one of the brightest prep stars in the Grand Canyon state, he indicated that spending his college years in the same city where he played high school ball, wasn't a driving factor in his decision which school to attend. "Playing close to home wasn't a big deal. I would have gone anywhere. When I met coaches from other schools, they just weren't the same. The whole atmosphere at ASU was just great." Now that he is playing in his backyard, he naturally associates with his fellow Phoenix area players such as Caldwell, Brent Miller, and Mike Pollack. "All the phoenix guys are pretty much hanging out together, and helping each other get through it. We're all good friends. We're gonna have fun working out and hanging out with each other."

As a senior, Palmer recorded 111 tackles, nine quarterback sacks, 13 tackles for loss, three caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Nevertheless, he knows that his game needs improvement as his embarks on his college career. "I need to work on getting bigger and stronger, and learn the system. In high school you just go out and play. In college you have so many different packages and schemes…I go hard on every play, so I hope that can help my game and help my team win." During his high school career he also played defensive end, tight end, fullback and long snapper

These days he's participating with virtually all of his teammates in the off-season workouts. Palmer shares with us his impressions after the first few weeks of this regimen. "College workouts are nothing like high school workouts. Especially under Coach House (aka strength coach Joe Kenn). His program is so good. The worst part is the conditioning, but I'm doing OK with it. It's hard mentally, but also physically. I'm doing a lot of lifts I never did in high school, working out body parts I never worked out." One recurring and positive theme of these workouts has been the guidance and support that he and his fellow first year players have been receiving from the team veterans. "(senior offensive lineman) Regis Crawford was preaching to us how hard we have to work to get to the next level. We know that an 8-6 season won't cut it. We want to get past that barrier and have a better year...All the players are helping us out. They have been great to us."

With the season opener just two and half months away, Palmer gave us his opinion on his chances of playing as a true freshman. "I guess it all depends how I perform in Camp T - that's what the coaches told me. If I do well there, I'll earn a rotation spot. If not, I'll probably redshirt. I know this year they have two seniors at defensive tackle, and after that it becomes very thin. So I know I can easily play my sophomore year if I work pretty hard…right now I'm just taking it day by day. Slowly but surely I feel that I'm getting used to all this, and it's getting a little easier than the day before. Hopefully that will help me make an impact my freshman year." And Sun Devil fans would love nothing more than to see Palmer join a long list of Phoenix area players who went on to have stellar careers at their hometown school.

Recruit Profile

Name

Brett Palmer

High School

Marcos de Niza, (Tempe, AZ)

Position

DT

Height

6-3

Weight

295

Date of Birth

9/5/84

Birthplace

Tempe, AZ

Nickname

"Just BP"

Favorite TV Show

"SportsCenter"

Favorite Movie

"Scarface"

Favorite Singer

"I don't have a favorite. I listen to all kinds of music."

Favorite Food

"Steak"

Favorite Drink

"Water"

Favorite Athlete

"Brian Urlacher"

Favorite Pro Team

"Phoenix Suns"

Person you most admire

"My dad. He helped me get through a lot of stuff."

First Football Memory

"My freshman year playing against (fellow incoming freshman) Mike Pollack and Corona Del Sol. I played tight end and scored two touchdowns. But we still lost."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I'm not a real vocal guy. I'm pretty quiet."

Why did you choose ASU?

"The coaching staff. I think they're the best in the country."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Have a successful job, be wealthy, and have a family. I want to go into business, but maybe be a teacher or a coach too. Everyone wants to go the NFL, but it doesn't work out for everyone."

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