Evaluating the 2003 Recruiting Class

DevilsDigest breaks down the Sun Devils' 2003 recruiting class, which was announced earlier this evening.

Jeremy Payton WR

Jeremy is one of many athletes in this class who can play several positions. As one of the classes' first commitments, he has been a player Devil fans have been excited about for sometime. "ASU offered and told me to come up for an unofficial visit. My dad and I went up and I just loved the place. They have a great young coaching staff that I can relate well to. Plus the football facilities and weight room are incredible and I like the defense."

Nate Kimbrough WR

Nathan was the other Devil commitment who joined on early in the summer. Kimbrough is a tall target with good speed and receiving instincts. At a southern California camp this summer, Kimbrough put on a show and won the camp MVP award. "Me and Jeremy Payton are definitely a package deal," Kimbrough told DevilsDigest.com. "We took an unofficial trip to ASU together and both fell in love with the place. We loved the facilities. I need to get stronger and that weight room is the place to do it. I also loved the academics and all the tutoring help they give you there plus the coaches are great, especially Coach Jackson."

Max Hall QB

Max Hall is an impressive local player from traditional power Mesa Mountain View. Aside from leading them to the state championship as a junior and runner up as a senior, Hall is an ASU legacy with his grandfather being "Whizzer" White, and his uncle being Danny White. Hall said that Grandfather Wilford "Whizzer" White, Uncle Danny White, or any other member of his family never exerted any pressure on him to play for the Devils. "My family would happy anywhere I went. But they're of course happy that they'll get to see my games." Hall didn't just choose the Devils because he was a legacy. "I feel real comfortable around the coaching staff. I really like coach Koetter. I feel this program is on the rise, and will be national contenders." The last question surrounding Hall is when he will take his LDS mission.

Maurice London FS

Maurice is the Devils only mid year transfer. He couldn't be coming at a better time with Jason Shivers declaring early and Brett Hudson departing for graduation. London comes as one of the most talented safeties in the JC ranks as his 1st team JC Gridwire All American boasts his ability. He was also voted to the All California JC team as a safety. Devil fans are excited to see how quickly London gets into the mix at spring ball.

Myrio Davis S

Myrio was a star player for local power Hamilton High School. As a matter of fact, Davis was in on the tackle that sealed the championship game for Hamilton. Davis is already a great physical presence. He is another 2004 commit who excels on both sides of the field. Many wonder where Myrio will play at ASU. He offers this little hint: "I've been rockin' hits, doing it right," Davis said, stating his preference for defensive back. "I like hitting people. I can go catch the ball and I've got speed, but that's not me. I'm bringin' the hits."

Leo Talavou OL

Another of the many players who excelled on both sides of the ball, Talavou is one of the top rated offensive linemen on the west coast. A young man with a great build already, many devil fans are curious to see if Leo ends up at OG or at DT. Leo was a huge pickup for the devils, and offered his reasons for joining the team. "They have a great coaching staff," exclaimed the Fountain Valley (CA) high school standout. "They're young, and they know how to get it done. That's important because I'm gonna be with them for the next four years. They treated me well on my visit and made me feel at home."

Antone Saulsberry LB

Saulsberry was a top safety prospect on the west coast going into the 2003 season. His combination of size and speed are leading devil fans to think he will be a linebacker in the mold of Darren Woodson, Adam Archuleta and Pat Tillman. No one is drawing comparisons just yet, although ASU fans are hopeful another safety will make the jump to OLB with great success while playing for the Devils. Saulsberry is an underrated recruit, but ASU beat out Wazzu, Oregon, and Colorado State for his services. Here's why: "Out of the schools I was looking at, this was the closest to home," he stated. "I got along great with coaches. I like the facilities and the academics a lot."

Dale Robinson LB

Robinson comes from the New York area via Glendale Community College. The same connection that brought speedster Chris McKenzie to ASU last year. With the Devils switching to a 4-3 base, Robinson lends instance size and run support to the run defense. "Switching to a 4-3 is a big plus," exclaimed Robinson. "The coaches told me how good I'd be in the scheme. I had ten sacks this season, and the coaches said I would fit because of my blitzing ability." Robinson comes to ASU with several accolades. He was an NJCAA 2nd team All-American and a 1st team WSFL All-American in addition to being voted defensive player of the year by the WSFL.

Bradis McGriff OL

McGriff was originally a Cal commit but changed his mind and declared for ASU. A representative for the state of California in the annual Cali-Florida Bowl, McGriff announced for ASU during the live telecast. Along with Talavou, McGriff is one of the elite OL men on the west coast this season. Given ASU's ability to recruit top offensive lineman of late, devil fans are thrilled with his potential. McGriff is a solid player on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Angelo Fobbs-Valentino DB

Angelo is another underrated recruit that ASU is thrilled to be getting. If you need to know anything about his ability, know that Colorado recruited him as a RB. ASU managed to win his services over offers from Utah, Cal and Colorado. Valentino is explosive and is an attractive option for the devil coaches at a number of positions.

Adam Vincent LB

Vincent also hails from 2003 state champion Hamilton High School. He was part of a tremendous LB corps there, and has been a long time devil fan. "I knew I wanted to go to ASU," said Vincent. "They're in my back yard, and I always followed them. The ASU coaches said that they wanted to get my mind off recruiting, and focus on school." Vincent is a player that has plenty of room to grow and is an exciting addition to the team looking to switch over to the 4-3 base.

Uriah Marshall CB

Marshall is one of the top CB prospects on the west coast and one of the best HS players in the state of Arizona. ASU is thrilled to be landing him as part of the upcoming class. Marshall studied the art of playing defensive back at Brophy under the tutelage of Mark Carrier. He will get the same opportunity over the next few years with Carrier being the new CB coach at ASU. Another tie to the ASU program is Marshall's cousin, RB Randy Hill. Randy hosted Marshall on his visit. "Randy did a great job showing me around," commented Marshall. "From what I saw on the trip, I couldn't find any reason why not to go to ASU. They made everything perfect for me. All the questions I had concerning the team were answered in great fashion."

Price Wilks TB

Every year, Dirk Koetter signs a couple of players who are barely heard of yet provide great excitement. This year, one of those players is Wilks. Wilks has tremendous speed and was a 100m-sprint champion as a junior. His HS coach thinks he will really develop once he gets into ASU's weight program. Wilks is a great fit for ASU. "I liked everything about that place," he remarked. "It's a great environment, not only for football but also for learning. They really focus on getting your degree, so you have something to fall back on in case football doesn't work out."

Michael Jones WR

Jones is an exciting get for the devils for several reasons. One, he played big time ball in Texas. Two, he was a great QB for his team, and lately QB's who become WR's are a hot commodity. Many envision the types of plays Koetter will be drawing up when he has Jones on the field. ASU won the services of Jones over Oklahoma State and Missouri. Jones pointed out Tempe and its surroundings as a big factor in his decision. "It's something different," he said. "It's a real nice place and I really enjoyed it when I visited there. It seemed like a place I could live for a few years."

Wes Evans DL

Evans hails from the same high school that current devil Josh Barrett played for. Potentially another diamond in the rough for coach Koetter, most devil fans are excited about the athleticism this big man shows. Anytime you get a guy who projects to play DL for your team after playing TE in high school, your team just got better. Evans adds very important depth to the defensive line position.

Rudy Carpenter QB

The Sun Devils continue to add tremendous players to the quarterback position with the addition of Rudy Carpenter. Carpenter went undefeated in 2003 and was a QB whose stock continued to rise as the season went on. A great athlete with a fine arm, Carpenter is also familiar with the type of offense coach Koetter runs. Carpenter was in on the lists of several schools such as UofA, UCLA, and BYU. In the end ASU's diligence paid off according to Rudy's father. "ASU worked the hardest in recruiting Rudy," he said. "ASU said that the written offer would be at our house on Tuesday, and that's when it got here." He added that the Sun Devils' recruiting methods exhibited a lot of class and style, and were by far more impressive than the other schools vying for his son's services.

Zach Miller TE

No player needs an introduction less than Zach Miller. Miller is a consensus #1 player at his position and one of the top players in the entire country regardless of position. The brother of red shirt freshman Brent Miller, many devil fans knew how close to the program Zach was. However, any time programs the quality of Miami and Oklahoma come calling it gives Devil fans something to be nervous about. In the end, the TE decided playing in front of his family and hometown fans was the way to go.

Andrew Pettes TE

To say the devils hit a home run at the TE position this recruiting season would be an understatement. Any other year, Andrew Pettes would be one of the most talked about players in the state. This year Pettes played 2nd fiddle to Miller in press all year, but managed to put up impressive numbers and gather attention from programs all over the west coast. Most refreshing about Pettes was his desire to still play for the devils after Miller had already committed. Sometimes current players can do more for recruiting than the coaches can. Pettes did receive some encouragement from a current ASU star, which undoubtedly helped him with his decision. "Andrew Walter talked to me on the phone," he stated. "And talking to him about ASU, it sounded better coming from a player than a coach. That really put me over the hump."

Dewayne Hollyfield DL

Hollyfield is an important part of the Sun Devil recruiting class. He brings some much needed depth and experience to the ASU defensive line. As a 2nd team JC Gridwire All-American this past year, Hollyfield got the attention of the devil coaches. A big man who can really run, Hollyfield is a perfect fit for the devils cobra pass rushing unit. Most players mention the facilities as one of the big draws to ASU, and Hollyfield felt similar. He also was impressed with the academic services the university had to offer. "Their academic advisers want the best for the players on and off the field," remarked Hollyfield. "They are very serious about it, they give you a whole schedule, but they also say how much self- discipline is important. You need to go to class, take care of business, and get your degree."

Jonathan Lehman OL

Lehman is a very good player from a quiet part of Texas. He adds to the growing reputation of Coach Koetter for finding hidden gems all over the country. Lehman is part of another great recruiting class that the offensive line coach Grimes has put together. Lehman will hit the training table and the weight room simultaneously to add some weight to his great frame. Lehman fell in love with the school's facilities, and the academics that it has to offer. However, it may have been his host player who left the deepest impression. "Having Andrew Carnahan as my host was good," said Lehman. "Just like me he's a Texas kid, so I could really relate to him. I have tons of respect towards him, and he's great player. I had so much fun at ASU I didn't wanna go home."

Brent Russum OL

Perhaps no player or person grew as much as Russum did over the last year. A skinny 225 lb kid a year ago, Russum has added over 50lbs to his frame and now looks like an impressive offensive line prospect. Russum was wowed by several Pac Ten schools and eventually wound down to Oregon and ASU. Again, coach Grimes answered the bell with another great recruiting score. Many devil fans were excited to hear that Russum would make his decision after getting to meet Coach Grimes in Idaho. Grimes was out of town due to circumstances out of his control when Russum visited ASU. It appears the time he spent getting to know Russum was better than could have been imagined. "I just wanted an opportunity to know Coach Grimes, because he wasn't there when I was on my visit. We hung out, played some pool, did some bowling, and he's a great guy. This was an easy decision, because I was leaning towards ASU for a while."

Quency Darley DL

Darley is as important to the recruiting class as any devil recruit. With very minimal depth returning at the defensive tackle, Darley's importance will be counted on next year. At 6-2 275 lbs, Darley is an equally good run stopper and pass rusher. One fact not lost on many devil fans was Darley being recruited by Iowa. ASU saw how impressive Iowa's front four was last year, and if this player was someone they were after, ASU fans know they have scored an impressive commit. The ASU coaches knew how important Darley was to this class and when Darley committed to them, the staff was overjoyed. "DL Coach Monachino came to visit me tonight," said Darley. "We sat in the cafeteria having dinner. I told him about my commitment and he just jumped up with hands in the air and yelled 'yes'! People were looking at him all funny and stuff like that" Darley added "He told me that he got the 'cream of the crop' of the defensive tackles," Darley continued. "He called all the coaches right away. He was very excited. It was cool to see that." Darley couldn't stop with positive comments about ASU. "I just love everything about ASU," he said. "I loved hanging out with Jamar Williams on my visit. He and the other players treated me like one of them. That was a big factor in my decision. I also like the academics a lot."

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