COSTA MESA, Calif. -- In recent weeks, Dillon Sterling-Cole has reaffirmed his commitment to Arizona State with words that are unambiguous.
On Christmas, he decided to make another clear statement, this time with a photo. The quarterback at Wesfield High School in Houston tweeted out a picture of his family members, with about 10 people wearing ASU gear he purchased as gifts.
"All of it," Sterling-Cole said, when asked if he'd done it on his own. "I had to. It was a must. The feeling to be able to give something to my family that I know is going to be worth it in the long run is really, felt special to my heart."
When former ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell left the school on Dec. 3 to accept the head coaching position at Memphis, he did so less than 24 hours after an in-home visit with Sterling-Cole and the four-star Scout300 quarterback's family.
Instead of making any snap judgements, Sterling-Cole processed what had transpired and spoke with ASU head coach Todd Graham and waited one week for the hire of Chip Lindsey from Southern Miss to replace Norvell before strongly voicing his approval and unwavering pledge.
"What they said to me is nothing's going to change, as far as offensively and the school," Sterling-Cole said. "I chose the school because it's Arizona State. I love the school, the fan base, the people around there, the connections I might have after I leave there. I see the opportunity as really great. So why leave such a opportunity on the table like that
"It happened so fast, I just had to adapt. That's part of my game and what I do now is adapting to adversity, as far as that being a part of my life so fast, that's what I did. Being able to speak with coach Lindsey and coach Graham, it made the process smoother. I got to speak with coach Lindsey a few times and I got this great feel from him, a great vibe. He's ready to come in and work with me and work with the other quarterbacks there and I'm ready to work for a position."
This week, Sterling-Cole is one of three quarterbacks for the West squad competing in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, California. Wednesday he had an impressive practice that was perhaps the best of the three players at the position, a group that includes quarterbacks committed to Oregon and TCU.
"The experience has been really fun," Sterling-Cole said. "Being able to speak with some of the Marines who actually went out and fought for our freedom, it's really an amazing experience. Not only for me but a few of these other guys who haven't really had a change to get that feel from an Army, Navy, Marines perspective. It's really been fun."
The bowl game is also a celebration of his transition from high school to college as well as a hint of how much more he wants to accomplish in the game that's afforded him such opportunity.
"What I'd like to work on is more so, I would say footwork," he said. "I have decent footwork now but why not get better at it. Reading coverages. I'm not bad at it, it's just the little things. I'm not bad at it but I can improve in it.
"It feels great (going to college to play). It just feels like a lot has been lifted off my parents and my grandparents did a lot, working with me growing up. My uncle, my dad just being there. It takes a whole family to raise a special person such as myself -- I'm not saying I'm special or anything -- but it's just something that we've been waiting for a long time and the opportunity is here."