High profile tight end has ASU connections

The nation's No. 11 tight end prospect in the 2016 class has already visited Arizona State twice and has multiple connections to the program despite hailing from the other side of the country.

Former Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong is not actively recruiting friend and fellow Philadelphian Naseir Upshur to join his former team. He did give Upshur some insight about ASU though.

“All he basically said was that if I was to play at Arizona State, that I’d be the man because of the way they use their tight ends,” Upshur said.

Strong and Upshur, the nation's No. 11 tight end prospect in the 2016 class, have a lot in common. Both are talented pass catchers from the same city and both had an interest in ASU during their recruiting process. Upshur is also very familiar with former high school teammate and ASU sophomore safety DeAndre Scott.

Upshur has a lot of interest in going to ASU at this point because he likes the way ASU uses its tight ends and his relationship with tight ends coach Chip Long.

Upshur equated his interest in ASU at 8.5 on a 10-point scale.

In three years at the high school level, Upshur has proved himself to be a very talented tight end for Imhotep Charter school in Philadelphia. He stands at 6-foot-3, 227 pounds and is rated the No. 11 tight end in the country according to Scout.com.

Therefore, Upshur says he has over 40 total offers, a list that includes Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and South Carolina.

Upshur made it clear that Strong is not pressuring him to sign with ASU in any way. Upshur said people were skeptical of Strong’s decision to go to ASU initially. But, Strong said it was the place he felt he was going to have the most success.

Therefore, Strong wants Upshur to pick the school that he will be the most successfully at.

Strong may not urging Upshur to come to Tempe. But, their relationship definitely gives the ASU coaches an advantage recruiting Upshur.

Upshur has already unofficially visited ASU twice. On one trip, he stayed with Strong. Upshur got the unique opportunity of experiencing the college football player’s lifestyle.

“I spent the whole week with him,” Upshur said. “When I was with him at school, it looked like he enjoyed himself. The team was very organized. They even had workouts without the coaches. So, that was good to see.”

While on his visit he learned how the tight end/3-back positions can be a focal point in offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s offense.

Upshur does not want to play in a system where the tight end stays on the side lines or are just used as in-line blockers. He wants to be in the game and more importantly, he wants the ball in his hands.

After his visits and his conversations with Long, he believes the tight end is a priority in the ASU offense.

“I know the way I want to be used at the next level is how they use their tight ends,” Upshur said. “So it just makes me very excited about those guys…They find a way to get their tight ends to create mismatches.”

Upshur said Long was the second coach to offer him a scholarship and really started his recruiting process. It meant a lot to Upshur that Long had interest in him early.

“We got a very close relationship,” Upshur said. “We talk about anything.”

Since Long offered Upshur a scholarship a lot of schools have also shown interest in the tight end. Upshur has an official trip scheduled for Maryland this Saturday. He is going to the South Carolina spring game and plans on visiting USC and UCLA soon.

Upshur said he wants to come back to Tempe again. He would like to make another unofficial visit and an official visit in the fall. He has not figured out a time to commit for another unofficial visit.

Upshur said he does not have front-runner at this point and will make his commitment on signing day.

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