"I also really liked how genuine the coaches are and how much they care about the program and their players. They have done a great job turning around the program and I know in a few years we will get to that Rose Bowl."
The 6-1 222-pound Santana Sterling is a back to back All-State selection and was part of a Huskies squad that reached the Arizona Division I State Finals the last two years, capturing the championship in 2012.
"Santana is one of the state's top linebackers," said Southwest Recruiting Analyst Jason Jewell in a previous evaluation. "Very very physical in the run game. Active and gets a piece of almost every play. I want to see him progress in pass drops, loosen his hips a little bit."
"When I sat down with (Arizona State linebackers) Coach Randolph he showed me how this defense is designed for the linebackers to make a lot of plays," Sterling said. "It's a defense that blitzes a lot so you have a chance to make a lot of plays. He sees me playing at the SAM and said that I'm a smart player with good instincts and good speed. He also likes that I'm a hard worker.
"I want to get better with the range of motion in my joints and increase my flexibility. Because I will be playing at a higher level I need to bring my speed up. Once I get into the program the coaches said that they want me to get up to 235, 240 lbs. but still maintain my quickness."
On his visit Sterling was hosted by a fellow in-state linebacker, Chans Cox, who gave him a current player's perspective of the Sun Devil program.
"He told me that the coaches will work with you so you can be successful on and off the field," Sterling commented. "He said that the program puts a big emphasis on the classroom so everyone gets a degree. They will always work you hard but that's because they want to team to make it to the Rose Bowl. They also want you to act professional on and off the field."
Sterling had offers from Ivy League schools Cornell and Pennsylvania, as well as Northern Arizona and could have been on scholarship, and in some cases, possibly played immediately in the 2014 season. Yet, the linebacker does see the benefit in the route that he has chosen for his college football career.
"It does give me more time to develop as a player," Sterling explained. "I can also get used to the college life and school first without having to also lift and run and practice my freshman year. Being close to home played a big part of my decision too.
"I'm going to enroll as a part-time student when the season starts and I will some classes in the summer too, but I won't be able to practice until I'm scholarship. I'll still be working out but just on my own and not with the team."