Arizona State has now offered a scholarship to 13 in-state prospects in the 2017 class, the latest of whom was taken by complete surprise at the development.
Kyle Soelle a 6-foot-4, 220 pound athlete who totaled 21.5 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year at Notre Dame Prep, received the scholarship offer at the end of a visit to the school Friday. Soelle transferred to Saguaro earlier this year.
"I really didn't expect it because I haven't really been talking with ASU until this happened," Soelle said. "Honestly, it was a really good feeling. I've always grown up as an ASU fan. This is where I was born, my grandpa has had season tickets for I don't know how long. It was like a dream come true. I don't even know how to explain it, it is a surreal experience
"It really changes things a lot. It's the hometown effect, and it really has a special place in my heart being a fan ever since I was little. I'm thinking now about visiting a couple places over the summer and ASU will always be in my heart towards the top of my schools."
The Sun Devils spent time evaluating Soelle at Saguaro this spring and that jumpstarted the process. He was contacted by one-time NFL player and former Chaparral assistant Conrad Hamilton, who took a job with the Sun Devils in recruiting this year.
"They let me know they wanted to meet my family so I just went over there with my mom, my grandpa and my brother," Soelle said. "We toured the facilities and basically had a great experience. At the end of the day they offered a scholarship and my whole family family was just so excited.
"Overall the University itself is going through huge renovation with the football program, coach (Todd) Graham is doing a great job building ASU, trying to make it a top program not only in the Pac-12 with the nation with these new facilities coming in. That will all be complete my freshman year of college so that has a huge impact on my future decision. It was just a dream come true for almost everyone in my family. Ever since I was a kid I've been going to ASU games, my grandpa has had season tickets since forever. So it's amazing to see this happen."
Soelle's grandfather Tom Henschen was particularly struck by the experience, given that he's a season ticket holder and has been an ASU fan for decades.
"He got choked up," Soelle said. "He told me afterwards it was one of the best days of his life, to take him there and to get to see all of that. He's never seen the behind the scenes stuff of what goes on."
ASU is recruiting Soelle to play Devil backer, and he has a lot of experience playing a hybrid linebacker/end role in his high school career, which also includes a big impact on offense as a tight end.
"Honestly it's the perfect position for me from a player standpoint," Soelle said. "It does everything that I do. It's been played by some of the best ASU players like Carl Bradford, who was really good at it.
"(Saguaro) coach (Jason) Mohns was super excited, fired up. They have a great relationship, coach Graham and all the staff and coach Mohns."
Soelle now has offers from ASU, Cal and Utah, plus almost all of the Mountain West Schools, In total he said he has 16 scholarships, with Oregon and Washington also keeping close tabs, among other programs.
"I never thought starting in high school that my recruiting would blow up this fast and ASU would even offer me a scholarship or anything," he said. "It's been a fun process for me and my family."
The hometown Sun Devils are going to be tough to beat now, according to Soelle.
"They said they're really making a push to keep the local kids staying," he said. "They want to go from 25 or 50 percent of the kids staying to 70 or 75 percent staying. I think there's a lot of talent in the state and it can compete with the best out there. If everyone stayed home it would be pretty awesome what could happen."