Arizona State priority recruiting targets: Devil backer

Arizona State is set to add the most significant infusion of talent and developmental depth into its coffers at Devil backer since Todd Graham took over in Tempe five years ago.

Devil backer, Arizona State’s hybrid linebacker/rush end position has been a hard-luck position for Todd Graham’s recruiting classes. While he has had several productive players at the position, including 2016 signee Koron Crump, he also has signed three high profile prospects who haven't played for ASU.

However, while 2016 signee Doug Subtyl initially failed to qualify academically, he again signed with the Sun Devils this month and is expected to enroll in January. He is arguably the best overall prospect the Sun Devils have signed at the position, and could be a starter this year if he assimilates as expected. If that happens, ASU will look to find a way to keep Crump, the team's leader in sacks last season, on the field at linebacker. Another possibility would be playing Crump at Devil backer, Subtyl at end and shifting multi-year starting end Joseph Wicker inside to defensive tackle. 

The Sun Devils are loading up on prospects at the position, even as they return Crump and A.J. Latu, as both will be seniors. In addition to Subtyl, ASU has three committed high school prospects who project to Devil backer, at least in the short term: Loren Mondy, Kyle Soelle and Tyler Johnson.

Mondy, a Texas product who set a record for being ASU's longest-ever commit, has a stockier build and could eventually move to the defensive line. He's graduating early and will be enrolled for the spring.

Soelle, out of Scottsdale Saguaro, is probably headed for a redshirt season in 2017 in order to add size and strength. A good athlete with a nice frame who could play Devil, linebacker or tight end, Soelle likely won't be needed early on, with Crump, Latu and Subtyl all in the fold. 

Johnson, the lone four-star prospect of the high school commits at the position, is physically ready-made to play but isn't very experienced in the role. He won't be needed to play a big role immediately, which is a good sign for how the position sets up long term. 

ASU doesn't have any remaining need at Devil backer from a numbers standpoint, but local products Odua Isibor out of St. Mary's Tempe High’s My-King Johnson are good Pac-12 prospects who were offered early. 

California high profile recruit D.J. Johnson is committed to Miami but officially visited ASU earlier this year. He is looking at several Pac-12 programs as well. Rahyme Johnson was offered recently by the Sun Devils but seems the least likely of the offered prospects to commit to ASU.

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