For a second year in a row, Arizona State has signed two quarterbacks in its recruiting class, and the overall talent level at this position is now easily the highest it has been in a quite a while.
In four-star prospect Brady White the Sun Devils land one of the best pure pocket passers in the program’s recent history, who possess well above average technique and mechanics. During his senior year he may have started to answer some questions regarding his athleticism and mobility, but improving physically is a necessary skill component he must achieve before being mentioned as a serious challenger for playing time. Even though he enrolled at ASU in January, he’s all but assured to redshirt this year, but in 2016 he will be one of the participants in a heavily contested battle for starting quarterback duties.
Local signal caller Bryce Perkins is a prospect who ASU knew packed a lot of potential, yet even this Sun Devil staff was amazed at the rate of progress Perkins has made as a senior. Not only did he deliver his high school its first state championship in a handful of decades, but he established Arizona high school records in touchdown passes (46) and completion rate (75 percent). Perkins is a true dual-quarterback and should be a natural in running the read option scheme in Tempe. He can certainly refine his skills all around but the sky is truly the limit to what this Sun Devil legacy can achieve.
Jaason Lewis brings a physical presence to this group and much versatility that could well have him end up as a tight-end/3-back at ASU. Either way this is the type of athlete that you’d like to first secure his signing, and then figure out what is the best role for him. I do expect him to start fall camp at running back and he could be one answer for short yardage situations. Lewis stands a great chance to play early.
Morie Evans is the total opposite in his skill set from Lewis, although his frame is certainly physical enough to play at this role. However, his athleticism and shiftiness, as well as receiving abilities are the traits that define him the most. As someone who committed very early in the recruiting cycle and played in just seven games as a senior Evans really flew under the radar even for those who closely follow ASU recruiting. Thus, on some levels he’s still very much an unknown commodity that we’ll probably not see on full display before 2016-17.
The fact that ASU was able to land five offensive linemen with perhaps two of them that could achieve the rare feat for a true freshman at this position of skipping a redshirt year, is quite the accomplishment. Granted, not being able to land a junior college transfer tackle is something that could adversely impact this group. Having said that, there is no shortage of talent here even to fill the immediate vacancy at that role.
Zach Robertson has a college ready body and is advanced with his techniques and mechanics. Even though he may be better suited for guard, he could play tackle as well and will be one serious contender this year for that aforementioned right tackle spot. Has one of the most impressive offer sheets of any newcomer in this ASU class and we believe he will backup those expectations when it’s all said and done.
Steve Miller is a mid-year transfer who is already making an early impression on strength coach Shawn Griswold. If Miller can physically compete as a true freshman and sharpen his already impressive traits as a lineman, then he stands a great chance as well to be in the two-deep in 2015 probably more at guard than tackle. Has the nasty streak that is so crucial for this position. We said it before and we’ll say it again, Miller is easily one of the most underrated players in this class.
Dillon Faamatau who decommitted from Washington State is a true two-way defensive lineman that could still end up one day on the other side of the ball, but for now is projected as a very athletic guard, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he dabbled with seeing some time at center as well. Even a tight end in short yardage situations wouldn’t be out of the question for Faamatau.
Cade Cote is a prototypical nasty, physical interior lineman. While he could be a very capable offensive guard he ultimately could be the center for the Sun Devils in 2016 and beyond. Mason Walter could play guard or tackle, and is another very physical addition to this group.
I often feel that on many levels football pundits and novices alike tend to overlook this position. This is clearly not the case with the ASU staff who addressed a group that was in dire need of a depth in a very successful manner.
Versatility - there goes that word again but when we talk about JayJay Wilson that is certainly the first trait that comes to mind. Yes, he could also be a quality addition at Spur linebacker for the Sun Devils but his skill set is much needed for the 3-back position that the ASU coaches greatly covet to have in this offense. Wilson has shown that he’s deft at blocking, receiving and running the ball and even as a newcomer could be a player that would be hard to keep off the field.
Thomas Hudson is an extremely physical tight end that can still be a competent aerial target in the passing game with good athleticism for his frame. ASU was actually battling for his services with Notre Dame for a long stretch in the recruiting cycle and if there is one thing about the Fighting Irish it’s that they usually do an outstanding job identifying talent at this position. ASU was lucky to jump on Hudson early in the process and now have a very physical presence in this position and another player who’s a true possibility to skip a redshirt year.
If there is any newcomer where I feel that staff really took a leap of faith with, it’s Raymond Epps. Yes, the junior college transfer did appear in 11 games as a freshman but in that season as well as his senior high school campaign (where he actually played wide receiver) his receiving production was minimal. Furthermore, he was awarded with a medical redshirt in 2014. All in all, Epps is very much an unknown commodity but the fact that he’s another mid-year transfer and has three years to boot could very much help the chances of this high potential newcomer to be a factor at this position.
I know on the one hand not landing any players at this position might warrant a failing grade. Nonetheless, I don’t believe you can rate a position with an actual grade letter if it didn’t sign any players at this role to begin with. It’s obviously disappointing not to see ASU sign even one wide receiver and even if its one-time commit, Alfred Smith, stuck with his pledge I don’t know if I would give this group a grade higher than a C.
Now, as we publish this article we are still awaiting for four-star Terrell Chatman’s decision, which has a true 50-50 chance of going ASU’s way. In that scenario I would give this position a B+ grade since I can see Chatman as a newcomer who genuinely has a realistic chance of making an impact as a true freshman.