The third time was the charm for Kenny Churchwell.
After visiting Arizona State twice previously this year, Churchwell made another stop at the school for its spring game last Saturday. The Phoenix Mountain Pointe High School safety left with greater clarity about where he stands with the Sun Devils.
"After the game I went down to the field and the defensive coordinator said, 'we would like to offer you,'" Churchwell said. "I started tearing up. I never got an offer like that, right on the spot in person like that. It was really amazing. I had tears of joy, I was so happy. I don't know the words to describe it. This was the third time I've been there for junior days. I thought it was another meet and greet, but he offered me."
With the scholarship offer comes an opportunity to further develop relationships with football staff members. Churchwell had already gotten to know ASU Assistant Athletic Director for Recruiting Donnie Yantis quite well. Now he's also starting to get a better sense for the man who could be his future position coach.
"I just received (secondary coach) T.J. Rushing's number so I'm going to build a relationship with him now also," Churchwell said. "I got there a little late for the Spring Game and was nowhere to be found but then T.J. Rushing stopped, turned around, and walked up to me and said, 'what's up Church?' I told him I was here for the longest but nobody was telling me where to go. He went off and was like, 'I'm not trying to have one of my best recruits over here on his own.' So I went into his office and we talked for a long time. I'm very excited that he helped me out even though I was a little late."
The combination of proximity to home and academic profile makes ASU appealing to Churchwell. He's aware of the ever-improving graduation rates and collective grade-point average of Sun Devil football.
"I would love to stay at home but I'm really looking for education," he said. "When I went to the three ASU junior days, I saw how high it's ranked in education. That's mainly one of the factors that would lead to me wanting to ASU. I'm looking looking for the best football team, like, 'Oh, we're No. 1 in the nation' in football, but not a good education. I want a good education. ASU is about to be a 3.0 [grade point average] as a team. That's like, great. That's why I like ASU."
Arizona, Cal and Hawaii have also reportedly extended a scholarship offer to Churchwell. He said Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, USC and Wyoming are other programs recruiting him and likely to stop by Mountain Pointe this spring.
As a junior, Churchwell had 73 tackles with five interceptions and 11 passes defended for a team that went 13-1 and reached the 6A state title game.