As his Maroon and Gold Camp got underway on June 12, Arizona State head coach Todd Graham wasn't initially focused on the football field.
Along the eastern sidelines at the Kajikawa Practice Facility, Graham had corralled a contingent of players and parents who'd made the trip from prominent Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School. Scout300 recruits Alex Perry -- brother of ASU safety Armand Perry -- and Bubba Bolden were part of the group, along with the fathers of both players.
According to Dr. Archie Perry, the father of Armand and Alex, Graham wanted to impress upon the two highly regarded defensive backs just how much he'd like to see them at ASU, and also that he plans on being around to coach them.
"It was a lot of the same things coach Graham has talked about previously with us, but also letting Alex and Bubba know how they fit into the grand scheme of things and letting them know they're high on his priority list as far as what he likes to do," Dr. Perry said. "He also wanted to let them know that he's not going anywhere. He's locked in and has no intention of going anywhere.
"It was also an opportunity for Alex to meet with (secondary) coach (T.J.) Rushing face to face. They hadn't had a chance to do that since he took the job. They'd spoken over the phone and messaged each other, stuff like that, but not actually met in person. It was an opportunity to talk with coach Graham specifically as he pertains to Alex. It was an opportunity to host Bubba and his dad, who had never seen ASU. And it was a chance to get a few of the other guys an opportunity to be seen (at the camp)."
Perry at one point early on was committed to ASU before taking a step back to consider all of his options. He is the No. 6 cornerback prospect in the West and No. 125 overall prospect nationally in the 2017 class. Bolden, No. 162 overall and No. 2 in the West at safety, is a soft commit to USC who nonetheless is giving the Sun Devils a serious look.
Perry and Bolden are close friends in addition to being teammates in the secondary at Bishop Gorman. Thus, the idea of playing football together is very appealing to them. Perry hasn't been offered a scholarship by USC and isn't seriously considering the Trojans as a result. With Armand being at ASU and Alex being closely tied to the Sun Devils through family, there is an opportunity to make a strong appeal to Bolden as well.
"They're all very close," Dr. Perry said. "Obviously Armand and Alex are brothers which is at a higher level than friends. But Bubba is like a brother. I know they talk about it. Is it a deal breaker one way or the other? I don't think so but ideally you'd like to be with family and play with family. At the same time, it's about what feels right for them. It's about not forcing it. If one thing feels right for Alex and not Bubba, then that's how they feel. They could potentially go their separate ways. In a perfect world they'd probably all play together, sure.
"I would say Armand is a consummate supportive big brother. He's going to be supportive of Alex and whatever Alex would like to do. Ultimately they'd both love to play together. Armand has been proactive in the process and talking with Alex and even with me, and being very supportive. He's going to be encouraging no matter where Alex goes."
The Sun Devils are thin in the secondary heading into the 2016 season, and are selling that to Perry and Bolden.
"Coach Graham was saying the kids have to show up and play and nothing is handed to them but the opportunity is there to play early on," the elder Perry said.
Bolden and Perry just had a team camp at Boise State and will both be at The Opening Finals in the Portland area early next month. There's no set plan for how the rest of the summer will go or when Alex Perry could ultimately make a commitment.
"I would say it's almost unpredictable," Dr. Perry said. "If Alex decides he wants to take other visits we could do that. If not, then we won't. There's nothing definite. He could decide before the season or ride it out through the season. It's just waiting until he feels he's at the right place."
The Opening will be the ultimate test for Perry, who has been aggressive in his pursuit of going up against the best wide receivers in the country in a variety of settings this year, including participation in several regionals leading up to the invite-only Finals.
"Trying to be objective, having been around a lot of camps and seeing a lot of kids through Armand's process and now Alex, I don't think there's a better cover corner that I've seen in the class," Dr. Perry said. "I just haven't seen one in terms of what he's able to do cover wise. You're a little reluctant as a parent to put your kid on a pedestal like that but there's been camp after camp and game after game and a lot of top guys haven't really been able to do much against Alex. I just think he's been able to prove himself that he can play that position at a high level."