Ruben Ibarra elated to be a Sun Devil

Inexperience on defense seems to be an often mentioned talking point when handicapping Arizona State’s chances in the 2014 season. Purdue linebacker Ruben Ibarra’s announced transfer, during his visit to Tempe today, can address that need and the one-time boilermaker is excited for the opportunity presented to him in his last year of eligibility.

“Not too long ago I was granted an extra year (of eligibility) by the NCAA,” Ibarra said. “So I have been looking for a school. My brother was helping me in the beginning, but because he isn’t a coach I don’t know if teams were taking him seriously. I contacted my offensive line coach from San Francisco City College that I had a close relationship with.

“He called a bunch of schools and told me that Arizona State really liked my film, are in need for a linebacker and they will call you once you get your release form. So I got my release form and then talked to (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Patterson two weeks ago about setting up a visit. I came here yesterday, talked to the coaches and the players, saw it was good fit and made my decision today.”

It perhaps should come as no surprise that the family feeling that sells so many high school recruits on the Sun Devils, was also the sentiment that heavily influenced an FBS school transfer and veteran such as Ibarra.

“I came from a school like San Francisco (City College) that went 23-1 and won a national championship,” Ibarra noted. “Coach Graham convinced me that winning a national championship is something that he wants to do here. He talked a lot of about family and I felt that on the visit. That is something that is important to me and that is what helped our team win a national championship.

“On the visit I just felt that Arizona State is a team that I want to play for.

Recruits are usually very influenced by the players who host them on the visit, and Ibarra said that he enjoyed hanging out with ASU linebacker and junior college transfer last year, Antonio Longino, and getting that unique player perspective that also contributed to his decision.

“He told me that this defense plays hard and everybody loves to hit,” Ibarra noted. “It’s a defense that blitzes a lot and they just play the style of football I want to play.”

Ibarra explained that at his first year at Purdue, he played sparingly in the first two games and was under the impression that he could redshirt that season. When he found out that he wasn’t able to, he appealed to the NCAA who in return granted him that year of eligibility back, with the stipulation that he would have to sit out the first two games of the 2014 season.

Therefore, ASU’s newest linebacker won’t be eligible to suit up until the third game of the season, a road contest at Colorado on September 13th.

In his second season at Purdue the 6-1 240-pound Ruben Ibarra collected 27 tackles, five of them for a loss. He stated that Patterson appreciated his skill set and the contributions he could bring to the Sun Devil squad.

“He likes how physical I am and how I can play smash mouth football,” Ibarra commented. “He and Coach Graham said that they wanted a physical presence at linebacker. Coach Graham said that he wanted more experience at linebacker because they are a lot of underclassmen playing there. He wanted a guy that with experience that can shift the defense when he sees an audible and that is what they saw from me on film.

“They want me to play at SAM which is the same position I played at Purdue, but they just called it MIKE. I’m a downhill linebacker that does a good stopping the run.”

When the linebacker was seeking transfer opportunities, he said that he was also under consideration by Miami, Missouri, and Cal, but ASU was the only school he ultimately visited.

“I’m feeling extremely blessed,” Ibarra said. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m going to take advantage of it 100 percent.”

Ibarra has signed his scholarship paperwork which should be approved by ASU’s compliance office early next week. The linebacker will now return to Purdue to complete his degree and once he graduates he will come back to Tempe. Ibarra anticipates reporting to ASU’s fall camp on August 8th.

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