Eno Benjamin Army Bowl Headshot (© AAG)

Signing Day Awards for Arizona State's 2017 recruiting class

Arizona State wound up signing 19 recruits on Wednesday, but Todd Graham has indicated he plans to add players to the program beyond National Signing Day.

Arizona State wrapped up its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday by announcing the additions of 14 players who signed Letters of Intent on National Signing Day.

Those 14 players joined the five early year enrollees the Sun Devils announced during the mid-year signing period, giving the program 19 new players to work with in the upcoming season.

Though the vast majority of the nation's prospects are now off the board, ASU will likely work to fill out the class in the coming weeks by adding junior college or high school recruits who slipped through the cracks or by pushing to find graduate transfers eligible to compete immediately in 2017. 

The Sun Devils have a handful of unused scholarships to award, and in all likelihood, the program will suffer some sort of attrition prior to the start of fall camp.

Still, with 19 new prospects prepared to enter the program, SunDevilSource has compiled our Signing Day Awards, labeling our top prospects, top projected immediate impact contributors and top five sleepers from the group that wound up signing with ASU in the 2017 recruiting cycle. 

Top five prospects

Doug SubtylSunDevilSource' top-rated signee in ASU's 2016 recruiting class, Subytl failed to become an academic qualifier and sat out the 2016 regular season. While prospects often use this type of a situation to re-open their recruiting processes in the future, Subtyl insisted he was a man of his word and remained intent on eventually enrolling at ASU. The four-star Devil backer prospect is now an early enrollee and eligible to participate in spring practices beginning in March. At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Subytl possesses a rare blend of size and speed that could help him become one of the Pac-12's dominant pass rushers if he's able to regain the form he demonstrated at the junior college level after taking a season off from football. Subytl is the first prospect the Sun Devils have signed since Carl Bradford left the program that has all the attributes necessary to become an every down Devil backer.

Blake BarnettA former five-star prospect and the nation's No. 2 overall quarterback recruit in the Class of 2015, Barnett left Alabama just four games into his redshirt freshman season after true freshman Jalen Hurts beat Barnett out for the starting job. Barnett took the first snaps of the season for the Crimson Tide against USC, but was quickly overtaken by Hurts who nearly became the second true freshman to ever quarterback his team to a National Championship. Because Barnett left after four games and enrolled at Palomar junior college, he was re-rated by Scout as a four-star prospect in the 2017 cycle and joined ASU as a mid-year signee in December. The addition of Barnett provides ASU with an NFL-caliber talent who possesses strong abilities as a pocket passer and impressive mobility that makes him a threat on zone-read and option plays. A big-bodied prospect with a plus arm, one of Barnett's best attributes is his quick release in the pocket.

Alex PerryThe younger brother of ASU safety Armand Perry, Alex Perry possesses a different skill set than his older brother because he's more of a true cover corner whereas Armand Perry is better suited to the safety position. A four-star recruit out of national powerhouse Bishop Gorman (Nevada), Perry held his own against some of the nation's top prep receivers throughout his high school career. Armed with excellent instincts and anticipation skills, Perry couples those attributes with an impressive ability to seamlessly change direction and break on the ball from his backpedal. Perry's ability to remain in phase as a cornerback is strong, and when he does find himself out of phase, his recovery skills come naturally. The top recruit for ASU at a clear position of need, Perry could find himself on the field sooner rather than later.

Eno BenjaminThe highest-rated running back to commit to ASU during the Todd Graham era, Benjamin was a long-standing silent commitment to the Sun Devils before making his announcement public at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7. The No. 10 rated running back nationally and the No. 2 rated running back in the state of Texas, Benjamin was one of the most productive players in the state of Texas over the last few years, accumulating more than 7,500 total yards and over 100 touchdowns in his high school career. The four-star prospect is stylistically similar to ASU senior Demario Richard because of his ability to run between the tackles and move laterally with instincts and quickness, but Benjamin is probably faster than Richard. A strong blocker who attacks his assignments in the passing game, Benjamin is also a great receiver out of the backfield and can help ASU in a variety of capacities. 

Ryan KelleyThe No. 6-rated quarterback in the West, Kelley was the first quarterback to commit to ASU before the Sun Devils opted to pursue Barnett following his transfer from Alabama. If Kelley redshirts as expected in 2017, then he and Barnett will be separated by two full years in school. A tall, mobile signal-caller with the arm strength to fit into a spread or Air Raid-style scheme, Kelley has the physical tools to develop into an excellent passer. At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, Kelley will need to add to his frame and fill out, but that's something that he should be able to do relatively easily during his first season at ASU. Though it may take Kelley a few years to earn his shot, the Sun Devils were able to land one of the most coveted quarterbacks in the region and set the foundation for the future at the quarterback position by adding Kelley. 

Top five immediate impact recruits

Doug Subtyl: Even though Subtyl took the year off from football in 2016 and projects to a position anchored by ASU's best defensive player last season, Koron Crump, it could be impossible for the Sun Devils to keep Subtyl off the field this year if he's able to transition to the FBS level seamlessly. A violent pass rusher with an array of moves capable of beating offensive tackles of the edge, Subtyl is a rare talent and could provide immediate contributions to the Sun Devils because he's more of a full-service edge rusher than ASU's other Devil backers. While Subtyl may end up at defensive end, SunDevilSource likes him as a Devil backer prospect because he has the quick-twitch athletic abilities to wreak havoc against the pass, but the size and strength to hold up against the run, which is a challenge for lighter, smaller-framed players like Crump.

Blake Barnett: After transferring from Alabama after four games in the 2016 season, Barnett was initially expected to sit out the first four games of the 2017 season. However, on Tuesday, Barnett received word that the NCAA granted him a Legislative Relief Waiver, making him immediately eligible to participate at ASU. Though Barnett will have to beat out four other returning quarterbacks on ASU's roster, his accuracy and arm strength from the pocket coupled with his familiarity with new offensive coordinator Billy Napier, the former Alabama wide receivers coach, could make him a leading candidate. Barnett's waiver completely changes the dynamic of ASU's quarterback competition, and allows him to compete through spring practices and fall camp for an opportunity to start from day one. 

Evan FieldsThe four-star safety from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma waited until Monday to announce his commitment to ASU, but when he finally offered his public pledge to the Sun Devils, he became one of the top candidates to make an instant impact. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Fields projects as a Bandit/Spur prospect who could grow into one of the top in-the-box defenders in ASU's secondary. One of Fields' best assets is his physicality, and as a result, he could wind up plugging in and playing at the Spur position, vacated by graduated senior Laiu Moeakiola. Fields is a hard hitter with an appetite for making plays in the open field, and with his combination of speed and versatility, the Sun Devils may look to use him early and often in 2017.

Brandon RuizWhile it's impossible to lock up a starting job before arriving on campus, Ruiz is the odds-on favorite to take over for Zane Gonzalez as the Sun Devils' placekicker in 2017, especially considering he'll be the only scholarship kicker on the roster. Ruiz has an outstanding resume for a high school kicker, with multiple 50-plus-yard field goals on his ledger and a 17-for-20 mark on field goal attempts during his senior season. Aside from his prowess as a field goal kicker, Ruiz should be a weapon on kickoffs, as 88 of his 94 kickoffs during his senior season of high school went for touchbacks. Though replacing the 2016 Lou Groza Award winner will be a tall task, Ruiz appears ready to embrace the challenge and has his sights set on becoming the third Groza Award winner in ASU history.

Alex Perry: Even though ASU signed three four-star defensive back prospects in its 2017 class, securing the addition of Perry was most critical for the Sun Devils because he's the only member of the highly touted trio who projects as a cornerback/field safety. Given all of the depth issues that ASU has had at cornerback in the past two seasons, Perry may be forced into action as a freshman whether he's ready or not. The Sun Devils may ease him into the rotation, first using him as an sub-package defender on nickel downs, or they could legitimately allow Perry to compete for a starting spot next season. Perry will likely contend with the likes of senior Maurice Chandler, sophomore Robbie Robinson and redshirt freshman Chase Lucas for playing time, while junior Kareem Orr should have one of the team's starting cornerback spots locked down. 

Top five sleepers

D.J. DavidsonDavidson's recruitment fell under the radar because he initially signed with Central Florida in 2016 before failing to academically qualify and working to become re-eligible for this recruiting cycle. After receiving the necessary grades to become eligible, Davidson settled relatively quickly on ASU, electing to stay close to home and join the local program. At 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, Davidson has impressive quick-twitch movement skills at the line of scrimmage and carries his weight well for his size. He's a natural athlete at his current height and weight and won't need to manipulate his size too drastically in ASU's strength and conditioning program, which is something previous Sun Devils' linemen have needed to do. Because Davidson is eligible to participate in spring practices as a mid-year enrollee, he could wind up seeing the field as part of the team's defensive line rotation as early as this fall.

Ty ThomasOne of three Bandit/Spur prospects ASU signed in 2017, Thomas joins four-star recruits Evan Fields and K.J. Jarrell in the most impressive recruiting haul the Sun Devils managed at any position group this cycle. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Thomas looks like a more athletic version of former ASU safety Jordan Simone. Thomas demonstrates Simone-level instincts on film, but he's a more physical hitter and a faster player who diagnoses plays well and forges a path to the ballcarrier. Though he wasn't as highly touted of a prospect as Fields and Jarrell, both of those players could eventually add more weight and play closer to the line of scrimmage, while Thomas looks like a true Bandit prospect.

Corey StephensSaguaro head coach Jason Mohns told SunDevilSource last week he thinks ASU fans should be extremely excited about adding Stephens to the 2017 class, as Mohns said Stephens is one of the smartest linemen he's ever coached. A three-year starter at tackle for Saguaro, Stephens said ASU offensive line coach Josh Henson wants to try him out at center when he's first able to practice with the Sun Devils this fall. Mohns said he wouldn't be surprised if Stephens developed into a multi-year starter for ASU, because he's got such a command for the game and is very technically sound. On film, Stephens doesn't play with an outstanding pad level and doesn't showcase top-notch athleticism at the line of scrimmage, but he has the tools to develop into a strong interior lineman because he possesses excellent power and packs a physical punch at the point of attack. 

Trelon SmithA three-star running back who slipped under the radar when ASU signed Benjamin, Smith was a very productive back in the talent-rich Houston area and is armed with an impressive burst and change of direction skills. Though Smith is more slightly built than Benjamin, backs in his mold have had success at the Power 5 level playing in spread offenses and running between the tackles in zone blocking schemes. With ASU's current depth chart, Smith likely won't earn many opportunities initially, but could develop into a reliable offensive asset in the future if he's shifty enough to work in and out of cutback lanes and showcases the vision and versatility required of backs in up-tempo, spread schemes. 

Mark WaltonA two-star signee, Walton is certainly a project for ASU, but a project with a relatively high ceiling. A tight end and outside linebacker in high school, Walton was recruited to play tight end for the Sun Devils despite having very little experience playing out of a three-point stance. While a redshirt year is almost a certainty, if ASU believes Walton can develop the strength and physicality to play effectively as an in-line option, he does have enough athleticism and speed to develop into an option in the passing game. Right now, Walton's skill set is undeniably raw, but with multiple scholarships open late in the cycle, ASU elected to take a chance on a player who at least has the measurables and potential to become a meaningful contributor. 


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