Since arriving at Arizona State, Todd Graham has talked ad nauseam about his desire to build depth and increase the size and length of the defensive front. As he fills out his fifth recruiting class in Tempe, it appears he has accomplished his goal.
Including the Devil backer position, which we have seen played by a hand-down defensive end in the second half of last season and so far this camp, ASU only has two seniors on the roster, Demetrius Cherry and Mo Latu. In fact, the Sun Devils only have one junior along the defensive line, Edmond Boateng. Several players in this group, such as Renell Wren, Jalen Bates, Ismael Murphy-Richardson, Bo Wallace, JoJo Wicker and Corey Smith have prototypical size and length.
With the bulk of this group being underclassmen, adding numbers is not as important as it has been but with uncertainty at the Devil backer position, adding edge rushers is a priority. ASU has one verbal commit, junior college defensive end Christian Hill. He is a prospect who projects to defensive end or as a hand-down Devil in the 40 front we have seen. We expect the Sun Devils to sign between three and six prospects who project to the front four in this class. Some of that depends on the development in-season of the players on the roster who project to Devil backer.
Christian Hill did not play high school football and landed at Glendale Community College after serving his country for four years in the Air Force. He was credited with 18 tackles and eight sacks for Glendale last year. He picked the Sun Devils over scholarship offers from Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State, San Diego State, Louisville and Colorado State. He had several other SEC programs showing interest in him at the time of his commitment. He will enroll in January.
There are currently five known prospects who project as hand-down defensive lineman with committable offers. Of those, only one, Chandler Hamilton’s Garrett Rand has shown a lot interest in ASU. Stanford and Wisconsin are other programs he is reportedly high on.
Devil backer is a position with several targets who are high on the Sun Devils. Junior college prospect Koron Crump is focused on ASU, and Tennessee. He is someone who has the potential to come in and start next year. Locally, Brophy Prep four-star Connor Murphy could play Devil or grow into a defensive end or possibly offensive tackle. Nevada prospect Derriyon Shaw has ASU in his top-3. Washington based prospect Isaac Garcia is expected to visit.
With only two seniors on a well stocked roster, ASU can be selective along the defensive line this year. We expect the Sun Devils to sign two or three prospects this year.
Devil backer is a key position in the Sun Devil defensive scheme. The Sun Devils in the last two classes have added quality recruits at the position and will probably take no more than one prospect in this class.
NotesCrump has an incredible burst and quick step off the line of scrimmage. He's a little slight for the position, but he has the speed, explosion, and quickness to overcome that. His length also prevents offensive linemen from stoning him in his tracks and overpowering him.