ASU leads for Pitt soft commit Butler

Despite making an early commitment to Pitt, 2016 defensive back Tony Butler is planning to take all five official visits and Arizona State should figure prominently in his recruitment.

Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward High School defensive back Tony Butler committed to Pittsburgh in March but is invested in continuing through the recruiting process and actually has another program currently atop his list.

"Arizona State is my number one school right now," Butler said. "(Secondary coach) Chris Ball is one of the major reasons. I've developed such a great relationship with him every since he offered me, I think that was in February. He kept it real even before he offered me. He told me, 'you're a guy I would love to coach.' Ever since then we just clicked and we talk about different schemes and how we'd play if I come there. I just feel if a coach is that honest with me and that good with communicating, it's a recipe for success already.

"Also, ASU is the only school that's offered me in the Pac-12 and I would love to play in the Pac-12. I just think it's a great opportunity to make a name for myself. I think it's the best competition in the country as far as going up against passing offenses. To be able to play and live in a different part of the country is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you put all those aspects together, you get ASU."

The east coast time zone has made it tough for Butler to watch a lot of ASU's games live, but he said he's watched clips of the team and studied film of individual players including players who have been drafted. He said he's even studied up by watching video of Ball's teaching style.

At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Butler said he played field side corner as a junior and will move to the boundary side this season, though his team will frequently game plan to have him track an opponents' best receiver.

"I'm actually playing corner when I get there as what I'm talking about with ASU," Butler said. "It comes natural to me, it comes easy. Safety is something I can grow into and I think it's a position I can play. I just learned corner like a year ago so learning safety wouldn't be that hard. Any position they want to put me at, that's fine."

Butler is planning to take all five allowed official trips and have that largely determine where he eventually signs, with a focus on what players have to say about the programs he visits.

In addition to ASU, Butler wants to see Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Rutgers. Pitt is another option but Butler said he's not sure how things will turn out with the school.

"It's kind of a difficult situation because I have such a good relationship with the coaches and the city," Butler said. "It's hard to break away. I definitely want to take my official visits and branch out a little bit. Hopefully they understand that. If they don't and I have to decommit, I understand that as well. It's really one of those decisions I had to make. I talked to my mom about it and she said I have to follow my heart and follow my dreams."


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