Offensive linemen Corey Stephens became the fourth uncommitted 2017 Saguaro player to receive a scholarship offer from Arizona State on Wednesday.
Stephens, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, participated at the Sun Devils' Maroon and Gold Camp Sunday and that showing led to ASU's increased interest.
"I've been developing a relationship with ASU for about a year now," Stephens said. "The offer is something I definitely wanted to happen. ASU is a school toward the top of the list for me. It means a lot to me. I went to the camp and had a really good showing and after that I felt like I had a really good shot at this offer and it feels great that it finally came in.
"I spoke with [offensive coordinator Chip] Lindsey (today). I've developed a really good relationship with him and really like all that he stands for. I really like the direction coach (Todd) Graham and coach Lindsey have taken with the program. They both preach character and academics and that means a lot to me. It shows they really care about the players and types of young men they're recruiting and trying to develop."
In the last year Stephens said he's taken four or five football-specific visits to ASU's campus. He's spent enough time on the field with Sun Devils' offensive line coach Chris Thomsen to have a pretty good feel for the man who would be his position coach if he were to choose ASU.
"I've done three or four camps with coach Thomsen," Stephens said. "I feel like we've developed a good relationship as well. He's a real teacher of the game, knows what he's talking about. He's not a super in-your-face guy. When you're doing something wrong he's going to tell you and help you correct it. He's always been 100 percent honest with me and it's something I respect and it goes a long way with me.
"They like me as a center a lot. I think I can play both guard and center. Most schools like me at center. I'm okay playing anything. I play left tackle for Saguaro now but anywhere I can get on the field and help the team I'm happy with. I think ASU's coaches like my versatility. They wanted to see if I can snap and move, especially me not playing that at the high school level. I think I proved that to them and that's one of the reasons the offer came."
Stephens isn't ready to make a commitment at this stage of his process, but the Sun Devils' offer certainly changes his recruitment.
"I grew up supporting ASU," he said. "My mom graduated from ASU and pretty much my whole entire family are ASU fans. It's something, since I was 9 years old, watching (former ASU quarterbacks) Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter on TV throw the rock."
Eleven colleges have offered a scholarship to Stephens: Air Force, Army, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Louisville, Memphis, Penn and Princeton. As would seem to be the case by his list, Stephens is a great student and takes put his education as a priority. He'd like to pursue a career in law or engineering.
"I'm pretty adaptable," Stephens said. "I would be fine at home and fine not close to home. It's more about finding a family atmosphere and academics are at the top of the list for me. ASU checks that box with their honors college. That's something I'm very interested in and would try to do and I think I could with my grades. I don't think I would have any problem with that. I take education pretty seriously. I know football ends and I want to get a good degree."
Stephens said he has no set visit plans for the summer but would ideally like to make a commitment, if he's comfortable enough to do so, before the start of his senior season.
"I'm going to make a commitment when it feels right," he said. "There's no timetable but I would like to get it done before his senior year so I can focus on our team and trying to win our fourth state title in a row and on my grades."