This week, Arizona State became the first major conference program to offer a scholarship to one of the top junior college pass rushers in the West.
Dorian Gerald, a 6-foot-3, 250 pound defensive end at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, led his league and finished tied for fourth in the state with 12 sacks. Georgia State and Colorado State were his first two offers, and Arizona State recently followed suit.
"I first talked to ASU a while ago," Gerald said. "They recruited one of my teammates. I conversed with them a little back then, they said some nice things but you don't think much of it. After that I talked with (new defensive coordinator Phil) Bennett and he said he loved me. At first he didn't offer because he had to talk with coach (Todd) Graham but then coach Graham said he was cool with it I guess, that he loved me too, so they offered.
"I haven't really talked with them that much yet but am sure that I will soon. Coach Bennett just told me how much they liked me. I know that they're talking to my coach too and letting him know."
ASU's most recent addition from College of the Canyons was Tim White, a starting wide receiver and returner who completed his college career last season.
In addition to his impressive sack total, Gerald led the league with 24 tackles for loss and had 54 total tackles. Not bad for a player who hasn't even been playing on defense for more than a couple seasons.
"I played receiver until my junior year of high school," Gerald said. "I just grew (recently) honestly. I was like 170-180 pounds (at that point) and then I started gaining more weight and I was 220-something as a senior, and I went prep school out of high school."
A native of Florence, South Carolina, Gerald was convinced to travel west by College of the Canyons head coach Ted Iacenda, and is glad he did.
"A lot of other schools weren't really trying to scholarship me and with the moving and everything, Coach [Iacenda] really made me and my family comfortable so I figured why not, let's do it," Gerald said." I'm glad I did because I love it out here."
Opportunities didn't come earlier for Gerald but he feels like he's physically matured and now better prepared to succeed at the highest college level.
"It don't really matter where I play, I just want a school that loves me and wants me," Gerald said. "Coming out of junior college you don't have a lot of time, so whoever thinks I can come in and make an immediate impact, that's where I see myself going as long as me and the coaches have a great relationship."