Nike The Opening Regional: In-state notebook

Is it possible Arizona's three best 2016 prospects stick together as part of a package deal in college? According to one of the three, Chase Lucas, it could happen. And don't count out the local school.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Chase Lucas doesn’t know what will be a tougher chore, picking the college where he’ll play football, or picking the position he’ll play. He does, however, know that he wants to play with two of his friends, both of whom happen to be elite recruits in their own right.

Following an impressive showing here at Sunday’s Nike The Opening Los Angeles Regional, Lucas said the goal is to play in college with Chandler High School wide receiver teammate N’Keal Harry and Saguaro two-way standout Byron Murphy.

Package deals are talked about a lot more than they actually happen in college recruiting, especially when involving more than two players, but Lucas said the 2016 Arizona trio is going to seriously consider doing what it takes to stick together.

“I might make my decision before the season, it’s just a lot of things I’ve got to weigh out,” Lucas said. “But me and Byron Murphy and N’Keal Harry are trying to go to the same college. N’Keal has been my best friend since I was like 6 and Byron has been a best friend since I was like 10, so we are all brothers and we feel like if we all go to the same college we could kill it together.”

At an earlier stage of the recruiting process, Lucas was on the verge of committing to Arizona State on the heels of 2015 class teammate Bryce Perkins’ decision to play for the Sun Devils. More recently, a lot of talk around the recruitment has seemed to indicate Lucas is likely headed out of state for college. He said Sunday that ASU still remains solidly in contention.

“It’s definitely a possibility because if you look at it, when I got my first offer, ASU was the first one, when N’Keal got his first offer, ASU was it, and when Byron got his first offer it was ASU,” Lucas said. “So ASU has been there since we just came into football. A lot of colleges were sleeping on us when ASU was already there and we were already five star, four star athletes, and I know ASU likes what we can all do so that’s always going to be a real option.

“All the offers I have, N’Keal has too. But Byron just took off, he has like 19 offers. He just really wants to know where we want to go. I just said we need to take our officials together, we need to be on the same page with that kind of stuff and at the end of the day we’ll find out what we’re going to do.”

Certainly it’s going to be a major battle from now until wherever the three players make their decisions and for Lucas, it’s going to involve a number of unofficial visits at a bare minimum and potentially go into his senior year.

“I don’t even know what I’m going to play in college so I can’t know whether I’m going to stay here or leave or whatever the case may be,” Lucas said. “ASU has a great defense. UCLA and USC are also amazing football teams. I felt like when I was going to commit to ASU I had to take a step back like my coach told me and he said wait it out a bit, a lot of colleges came in and it’s crazy. It’s shocking how many came in and I have to examine everything. I’m taking an unofficial to USC tomorrow and then UCLA on Tuesday. I’m ready to see what they are all about.”

Rand earns defensive line MVP honors

The defensive line group didn’t have a lot of high end BCS prospects Sunday but one who did stand out was Chandler Hamilton High star Garrett Rand.

Rand won MVP honors at the position group and solidified his standing as a four-star prospect and one of the better defensive line prospects in the West.

Following his impressive performance, Rand said the conventional wisdom that Stanford is the team to beat may have some validity but he’s very much still early enough and open enough in the process to be considering a variety of schools, including ASU.

In fact, Rand was just at ASU a few weekends ago for a Junior Day event at the school, and it’s one of a number of visits he’s already made to the campus.

“ASU is a great school,” Rand said. “They are always hitting up my phone, ‘Hey Garrett, come to the school, something is happening, we just want to sit down and talk to you.’ So I have a great relationship with them, I’ve seen them practice and play and I just went to their junior day.

“I’ve been to ASU a few times, it’s great talking to the coaches again and building the relationships more. Mostly I talk to coach (Jackie) Shipp and (former assistant Paul) Randolph. Todd Graham is definitely switching that program over and I’m excited for them. I want to see where it’s going and who knows what could happen. I’m definitely still paying close attention.”

Moran shows versatility as prospect

Throughout the 2014 season, Chandler High two-way prospect Mason Moran held down the secondary for the Wolves on their way to a state championship. But Moran was a convert to the position due to the play of Perkins at quarterback, who is a year older.

All the position switch did for Moran was make it tougher on him to figure out where he’ll play in college because he’s now considered a Division I safety prospect. Most schools are recruiting him as an athlete.

But Sunday he worked at quarterback and showed he’s more than capable of being a standout there as well, and it’ll be the only position he plays for Chandler in the year ahead.

“I love them both to be honest,” Moran said after the event. “It’s pretty crazy. I thought I loved quarterback and then started playing safety and loved that too. So it’s great, I could play whatever and be happy it all depends on where schools want me. I love both positions equally.”

Boston College, Colorado and Massachusetts have offered scholarships, Moran said, and ASU, Arizona, Northwestern, Oregon and Oregon State are in close contact.

“I’ve been talking with coach (Chris) Ball at ASU,” Moran said. “He was liking me at safety. he wants me to talk to him and meet up with him when I get some free time. I took an unofficial there but it was a while back and they told me how they are building the new stadium and I got a tour and everything and liked it.”


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