2015 recruiting class awards

Devils Digest doles out honors to some of the more notable Sun Devils newcomers who signed with ASU in their 2015 recruiting class.

Offensive MVR (most valuable recruit)

In a very deep class of 2015 quarterbacks in the West region, ASU was able to snag White who finished 5th in the prestigious Elite 11 competition last summer. The four-star prospect is a pure pocket passer who has displayed sound decision making skills and is sharp with his throws. In his senior year he probably displayed more athleticism and mobility than some expected him to possess. Getting stronger should be his number one goal at this point and the fact that he’s already enrolled in school and getting a leg up in the strength and conditioning program obviously helps a great deal.

While we don’t expect White to play this year, his worth could be proven sooner rather than later during his time in Tempe.

Defensive MVR (most valuable recruit)

Sure, it may appear a no-brainer to choose the lone five-star of this class for this award and his impressive highlight film does very little in putting any doubt in even the most skeptical of ASU fans. But it’s not just the fact that Durant is the ultimate combination of speed and size, but that he plays in one the most important positions on this Todd Graham defense, at Devil backer. Going back to last year’s spring practice, the struggles of ASU to find a player to successfully assume this role have been well documented. Consequently, it forced the coaches after four games into the season to go with a heavier front and a truer 4-3 look.

While this change in scheme proved ingenious and may have been the most significant reason for the success ASU enjoyed from there on out, it’s no secret that the ASU staff would like to go back and employ the Devil backer in their scheme and Durant naturally gives them much reason to be hopeful on this matter. The fact that he’s another mid-year transfer already on campus should enhance his chances of an early impact.

Team MVR

Davon Durant for the reasons mentioned above.

Newcomer to make Immediate impact on offense (aside from MVR)

We all know by now how hard it was for ASU to land a junior college offensive tackle, to play on the right side of the line specifically, but Robertson undoubtedly has the potential to fill in that need. At 6-4 315 pounds his body is college ready and now it’s up to him to successfully pass the crash course that is fall camp, so he can be an early contributor. Looking at the landscape of the roster, as well as his God given talents, we believe he will do exactly that in a position which is a critical need.

Newcomer to make Immediate impact on defense (aside from MVR)

It may have not been a total shock to see this four-star prospect pledge to ASU today, but this certainly was a massive National Letter of Intent day splash for the program. Wicker is ASU’s first national Top 100 prospect in Todd Graham’s tenure in Tempe (and first one overall since 2009). When the lineman’s signing became official, Graham didn't hold back in his high praise of Wicker comparing his skill set and potential to that of two-time Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, Will Sutton.

Wicker isn’t just an extremely physical player but also a very explosive lineman as well that can help shore up ASU’s run defense overnight and fits ASU’s scheme very well. He was the Sun Devils’ no. 1 target at defensive line and after a fierce battle with UCLA; ASU did prevail in landing a player that simply turned this 2015 class from good to great.

Steal of the Class

I have no doubt that landing the defensive lineman out of Louisiana would be tougher for ASU, if Bates was playing at the 5A level in his state let alone doing so in one of the bigger cities. Surprisingly a lot of schools appeared to be too caught up in the fact that he played at the 3A level and ASU could really cash in because of that oversight.

At 6-5 235 Bates will obviously have to add on good weight of 30-40 pounds to be an effective defensive end (he’s not projected at Devil backer) but this newcomer is already very impressive physically, and like some players on our award list balances his physical attributes with just as impressive athletic skills. He even played some wide receiver in high school, but rushing the passer, penetrating the backfield and having the speed to successfully chase down running backs or wide receivers on shorter routes is his true calling. If can even be half as unblockable as his was during his prep career, then ASU’s due diligence recruiting Bates will pay hefty dividends.

Most likely to surprise

It’s easy to overlook this running back who was being recruited as a linebacker by ASU, due to the fact that he committed to the Sun Devils just over a year ago and was totally under the radar ever since from a recruiting process standpoint. On the field however, it was impossible not to notice Ralston as he was tearing up the 4A division in Texas with 2,771 rushing yards (7.03 yards per carry) and 46 touchdowns. So again the surprise we are talking about here is more in terms of the prospect’s stature rather than actual his senior season production in such a talent rich lone star state.

So what position does he stand to succeed at more? As a mid-year transfer we will see this answer starting to reveal itself in spring practice. He stated that he will see some time at running back and it remains to be seen how many reps he splits between that position and SAM linebacker. His 6-0 221-pound frame naturally suggests that his skills are more on the physical side of the ledger than the athletic one, but a high football I.Q. more than compensates for lack of speed or explosiveness. All in all, Ralston is by far one the more intriguing prospects in this class.

Greatest Potential

The quarterback competition in 2016 should be an epic one, and as we stated numerous times in the past, don’t sleep on this local Chandler High School prospect as being a factor in the mix.

Perkins is an underrated signal caller prospect, who already has an impressive frame and probably doesn’t have as much ground to cover as White does to achieve the necessary level of physicality and athleticism to play at this level. In terms of having the pure skill set to run the read option, Perkins may be trailing only Manny Wilkins among all of ASU’s quarterbacks.

He rightfully won the Division I MVP award. Not only did he lead Chandler to the state championship, but his 46 touchdowns were a state record, as was his 75 percent completion rate. His accuracy is also manifested in having just six interceptions. He passed for 3,001 yards and rushed for 697 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and five touchdowns.

Perkins is not just a gifted athlete who happens to play quarterback, but someone who has a lot of the nuances required to play the position in terms of mechanics and game knowledge. The sky is truly the limit for Perkins and it may just be a matter of time until he can make his imprint on this team.

Patience is a virtue

More often than not offensive linemen are slow to develop as they play a position where the transition from high school to college is usually quite sharp. Thus, players at this role are likely to redshirt and frequently don’t make a serious contribution until their third or fourth year in the program.

Now as this pertains to Miller, we wouldn’t be terribly shocked if he played this year since we think he may be one of the most underrated players in this 2015 class. On the other hand, if he follows the usual path of offensive linemen he may be only a season or two away from making his mark on the front five.

Miller carries his 6-4 283 frame very well, and as an early enrollee will have a chance from both a physical and technical angle to genuinely be ready and make a charge at the two-deep, especially due to the fact that he projects well both at tackle and guard, although his skill set in terms of aggressiveness and athleticism lends itself probably towards the later. Whatever role he ultimately assumes, we see Miller as one of the more significant building blocks of the offensive line unit in years to come.

Best recruit to exemplify “All In”

When you are ranked as the no. 15 running back in the country, suffice to say that you will have some very attractive options during the recruitment process. Ever since he committed all the way back in September ASU was engaged in quite the battle to hold onto his pledge. The running back took to Twitter saying that he was 100 percent committed and didn’t appreciate the rumors about him being an imminent decommit. Granted, two SEC schools official visits in January to Florida and Ole Miss didn’t make anyone in Tempe sleep any better for the last couple of weeks, but true to his word Lewis remained an ASU pledge as he signed and sent his National Letter of Intent.

Favorite recruit to interview

I may not have interviewed Davon Durant as often as some of the other newcomers, but our interview the day he committed still resonates with me. Granted, when a more mature junior college player grants a better interview than a 17, 18-year-old high school student, it’s no big surprise. Yet, I’m still very appreciative the way Durant opened up to me about his reasoning for choosing ASU and his relationship with defensive line coach Jackie Shipp. Interviews such as those are by far the exception and not the norm.

Describe ASU’s 2015 Class in 140 Characters or Less

Progress quite evident in caliber of recruits. National brand allowing ASU to expand to remote and fertile recruiting territories.

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