When Thomas Graham calls, the 480 area code number of his cell phone conveys a connection to the Phoenix area that persists to this day. It's one of the reasons Arizona State made last week's Top-10 cut for Graham, one of the nation's top cornerbacks in the 2017 class.
Graham was born in Arizona and spent the first eight years of his life in The Valley of the Sun before moving to California, where he attends Rancho Cucamonga High School. His grandmother and others he's close with still live in the area.
"They're pretty up there," Graham said of the Sun Devils. "We talk probably two or three times a week, coach (Todd) Graham and coach (T.J.) Rushing. It's basically like what all college coaches say as far as recruiting, but I like ASU and they're up there on the board."
The No. 54 overall recruit and No. 2 cornerbacks in the West in the class, Graham has a huge list of suitors. He's narrowed his focus to ASU, Alabama, Arizona, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Utah and Washington.
Since Graham often visits family in Arizona, the Sun Devils have pretty good access to him, not to mention some sentimental value. The first ever football game he attended was at ASU, and he looks up to several older members of the community who played at the school, including former running back Keegan Herring.
So when Graham is back in Tempe on July 22, he's going to take another close look.
"I already visited there before but I never got the full tour," Graham said. "I just got to see more of the football stuff. So I would like to see the whole campus, got the real tour, and learn more about the academics, talk with the advisors and see what they have to say.
"I got more people by Arizona State than Arizona. It feels good because I know that if I need to go somewhere to get my head off about everything and I'm at Arizona State it's three or four minutes to my grandma's house. So that's something that I really like about it."
Graham, 5-foot-11, 163 pounds, is also planning to visit Arizona on July 23, and is set to camp at Alabama as well in the coming weeks. He'll be at The Opening Finals in the Portland area this week, competing against some of the best receivers in the country.
Notre Dame and Oregon have set up official visits with Graham, who is currently planning to take all five allowed by NCAA rules. A college decision should come after his senior season ends, but sorting through his final group of schools will be very difficult.
"At this moment I'm not going to lie -- I really don't know how I'm going to do it," Thomas said. "It's something I've dreamed about but I didn't realize how hard it was in this situation. It's scary. I'm not nervous about letting anyone down. I'm more nervous about making a decision because I like a school but maybe it's not the best option for my future. I want to find the best fit and figuring that out is tough."