2016 priority target overview: Devil backer

After struggling to replace Carl Bradford at devil backer in 2014, Arizona State seems better equipped at the position moving forward and will attempt to layer in additional athleticism moving forward.

Devil backer is a key position in the Sun Devil defensive scheme. Arizona State did well in the last recruiting class, landing JUCO All-American Davon Durant along with athletic high schooler Malik Lawal. We expect ASU to sign at least one devil backer prospect in 2016.

Here's our look at the six devil backer prospects who have offers from Arizona State.

Willie Baker, a 6-foot-4 and 225 pound prospect, had a strong junior season after breaking his fibula late in his sophomore year. He was credited with 108 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and six forced fumbles. Arizona State, in large because of the recruiting ties of Mike Norvell, has done well with Louisiana based defensive linemen under Todd Graham. The Sun Devils will have tough competition for Baker as he claims offers from Arkansas, Mississippi, Michigan and Tennessee among others. LSU and Texas have shown early interest in him as well.

Brandon Bowen hails from Trophy Club, Texas and is a highly sought after prospect. In addition to ASU, the 6-foot-6 230-pounder reportedly has offers from Baylor, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech. He claims a 40-yard dash time in the 4.65 second range. It figures to be tough for the Sun Devils to get a commitment from a Lone Star state prospect with so many in-state offers and Baylor is also considered to be the early leader for his commitment.

ASU has landed east coast based commitments in each of the last two classes so offering a prospect from Maryland such as Cameron Brown is no surprise. The 6-foot-2 205-pounder has the look of an NFL prospect and already claims offers from ASU, Boston College, Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, and Wisconsin, West Virginia among others. He was named honorable mention all-state in Maryland's Private Schools category as a junior, finishing with 94 tackle and 12 for a loss, helping the Bullis School to finish 9-1 overall and win its second straight Interstate Athletic Conference championship.

Christian Hill was credited with eight sacks for Glendale Community College last year and has picked up a lot of interest from recruiters. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado State, Oregon, Oregon State, Purdue San Diego State and Washington State are among his earlier offers. His story is reminiscent of former ASU star Derrick Rodgers Hill went to high school in Kansas City but didn't play football. After graduating he joined the Air Force and served four years before enrolling at Glendale. At the moment Arizona is rumored to be his leader.

Sci Martin is another Louisiana based defensive lineman the Sun Devils are recruiting. The 6-foot-4 210 pound prospect battled injury last year but claims double-digit offers. He recently told Scout.com “I’m really looking forward to visiting Arizona State, you know. That is the main school I’m interested in right now.” He also has reportedly expressed a desire to play in the Pac-12 because he wants to play in a passing league so to best develop his skillset.

Arizona State was the first program to officially offer Connor Murphy a college scholarship last summer and since then the floodgates have opened for him. The younger brother of former Stanford all-american and now NFL defensive end Trent Murphy, has added offers from Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA among others. He has a longer frame than his brother, he could easily grown into a hand-down player and some think his future might be along the offensive line. ASU figures to be battling Michigan and Stanford for his pledge.

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