JC Visitors report on official trip to ASU

Offensive tackle, middle linebacker and defensive linemen are all positions of need in Arizona State's 2013 recruiting class. Therefore, it came as no surprise that four junior college players in those roles officially visited Tempe this past weekend. Devils Digest talked to the quartet about their experience and recruitment with the school.

Earlier today a report surfaced that Contra Costa (Calif.) College, Eriquel Florence, was the lone Arizona State pledge on this weekend's visit, but the 6-1 218-pound linebacker said that the Sun Devils aren't yet his school of choice but very well could be.

"The visit was amazing," Florence said. "I had a great time. I got a tour of the campus, talked to the players and ate a lot (laughs). We all went to Coach Graham's house and had dinner there. Everything was really cool.

"I really liked the whole atmosphere there and how they are all like a family. It just felt like a good team to be part of."

Florence, who is being recruited as a SAM linebacker was hosted by current ASU SAM linebacker, junior college transfer Steffon Martin.

"He told me about the scheme that the defense runs," Florence stated, "and how playing in it can give you an opportunity to play at the next level. He told me that this coaching staff will put you in a good position to be successful.

"The coaches told me that I can play four different positions on their defense. They like how I move, my football IQ and my awareness. I'm a go-getter that will give it my all. I could work more on my coverage and my footwork."

The linebacker, who will graduate in May 2013 and will be a three for two player, has currently one more official visit to take, to Houston on December 14th. Western Kentucky is the only other school that has offered Florence aside from ASU, and he will be seeking more offers in the weeks to come. Nonetheless, he did admit that the Sun Devils are standing out above the rest.

"I haven't done anything official, but they are my number one," Florence said of ASU. "I'm going to sit down with my coaches when I get back to California and see if I can get more offers.

"I'm looking for a school that that has coaches and players I can get along with, and a school that will give me that shot and let me do what I do best."

Two of Florence's Contra Costa teammates, Demetrius Cherry and Desmond Harrison, were also part the official visit to ASU. Florence said that the thought of all three playing for the same school is definitely one thought that did cross all of their minds while being in Tempe the last couple of days.

The 6-6 275-pound Cherry shared those sentiments after an enjoyable time in Tempe.

"It was a great visit and great atmosphere," Cherry said. "The facilities, the academics, the football team…everything was real nice and you can tell they will be a good team in the long run. I really liked talking to Coach Ball and Coach Randolph. They told me I could play defensive tackle, nose tackle, rush end or linebacker/defensive end. They feel that I can play different positions and even drop into coverage."

Cherry was hosted by defensive lineman Will Sutton, and came away impressed with the 2012 Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award recipient.

"He's an All-American and someone I can look up to," Cherry noted. "He told me that if you're willing to work hard you will get more out of your time here. I really like their defense because it'd very fluid and everybody moves very fast. They play with a lot of energy."

The lineman admitted that he's "very high on Arizona State" but he's still exploring his options. Cherry visited Iowa State last week and in the next two weeks will visit Illinois and Michigan State in that order.

Cherry is scheduled to graduate in May 2013 and is a three for two player in terms of eligibility. The lineman stated that his mother and junior college coaching staff will be a big part of any decision that he makes.

"I'm looking for a good atmosphere and a good college town," Cherry said. "I will be making my decision closer to signing day."

The 6-8 320-pound Harrison is one of the most coveted junior college offensive linemen on the West Coast. He has offers from Oklahoma (visited November 23rd), Texas (visiting December 7th) and had offers from Boise State, Texas Tech, Washington among others.

"I had a good experience," Harrison said of his ASU visit, "and I liked Tempe a lot. I got along with the coaching staff. I was hosted by Michael Eubank and he's a great guy. I really enjoyed my time down there with him. He told me that they are just a few players away from being a top national program, and what a great opportunity I would have here.

"The coaches like me at left tackle and they stressed to me how much they like my athleticism and run blocking. They like how I finish my blocks and how I like to play smash mouth football."

Cherry is also a spring 2013 graduate with three years to play two. Overall atmosphere is one aspect that will guide him in his decision.

"I want to play every Saturday in big game atmospheres," Cherry remarked. "I have to have a connection with the coaching staff. Playing with my teammates (from Contra Costa) would be cool and is something we were all talking about.

The only non-Contra Costa College player who officially visited ASU this past weekend, but ironically has faced that school in the last two years, was offensive lineman De'Ondre Wesley from Diablo Valley College which is also located in the Bay Area.

"I enjoyed my trip a lot," said the 6-7 305-pound Wesley. "I really like the tempo they play at and I was very surprised how fast they play. Seeing them at practice you could tell how light footed they were. They're not chubby and can really move and are really athletic and that fits me well.

"Coach Connelly said that he liked how I pass block one on one and also blocks well in pace. Run blocking is something I need to work on more."

Wesley, a December graduate and a three for two player, is a soft verbal to Utah, and confessed that the ASU visit gave much to think about to say the least when it comes to that pledge.

"I was hosted by Jamil Douglas," Wesley said. "I really liked that he was down to earth. We had a lot in common and he knew where I was coming from because he was also committed to Utah and then came to Arizona State. So he knew what I was thinking and could relate to me on a student-athlete level."

The lineman had high expectations of the Sun Devils, and not only were those expectations met but the visit provided him with the overall team feel he is looking for to aid him in his decision.

"I always knew that I was going to visit Arizona State and check them out," Wesley commented. "I'm leaning towards Arizona Sate right now. Signing day is coming up pretty soon and I'm not taking anymore visits. So it's between Arizona State and Utah right now and I'm thinking Sun Devils. I'm probably going to wait until next week to make a decision.

"I'm looking for a school with a team bond and team camaraderie and a solid coaching staff that make me play to my potential and show what I can do. I felt that at Arizona State hanging out with the players. I felt like I was already part of the team even though I was just a recruit. I'm big on academics too because I want to get my Bachelor's degree. So I'm looking for a place that can benefit me as a player and as a person."

Furthermore, Wesley admitted that he wouldn't mind for a change to play for the same squad as his conference foes from Contra Costa College.

"It would be real nice to be on the same team as them because those cats can ball," Wesley said. "We talked about how much fun we all had the visit and how cool it would be if we all played here."


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