One of the nation's top defensive back prospects in the 2018 class has multiple connections to the Arizona State's football program.
Steve Stephens, a 6-foot-0, 185 pound safety at Edison High in Fresno, California, is the top-ranked safety recruit in the West and No. 3 nationally. He's the No. 41 overall prospect in the class.
"My god-brother is (ASU senior defensive tackle) Tashon Smallwood. "I grew up with him when we were younger. My mom and his mom are really good friends. I also have a cousin out there, (former ASU offensive lineman) Stephon McCray."
ASU has invested a lot of time in the recruitment of Stephens already, he said. The Sun Devils are one of 15-plus programs to have already offered a scholarship, and it is reminding him of it on a regular.
"It's been good, just staying in touch with (secondary) coach (T.J.) Rushing," Stephens said. "They send me mail every week, like almost every day. I think they have artists doing some of the stuff because they draw different things, like 'Forks Up.' They're telling me how much they'd like to have me. I'd like to get out there for an unofficial visit, like pre-checking it out before an official visit."
Stephens has already taken unofficial visits to USC and Stanford, and is planning additional trips this spring to Cal, Oregon, San Jose State and possibly Nebraska. He has reportedly been offered by seven Pac-12 schools and several prominent national programs including LSU, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
"My coach told me, he said, 'man, you're going to blow up," Stephens said. "You don't even realize.' I was kind of just going off what my coach was telling me, but I didn't think it would be like this. It feels great, to be recognized as one of the top coaches in the country, it's just an honor."
Versatility is a hallmark of Stephens' play, he said. Even though he plays safety and projects to being a coverage safety in college, he believes he can do it all.
"I'm a real good cover defensive back," Stephens said. "I can play corner if I need to, nickel. I look up to (former NFL star) Charles Woodson because he can do it all."
Stephens, who is interested in studying mechanical engineering, is planning on being very thorough with researching schools and getting to know coaches before making a decision on his next destination.
"I was going to wait it out and take my official visits," he said. "You're trying to get set up for life, so I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing picking a college. Early playing time is important and getting good coaching and a great education."