Introducing the 2004 Class: Rudy Carpenter

There are many state champions on ASU's roster, such as this Westlake, CA signal caller. However, one would be hard pressed to find any other member of the latest recruiting class who endured the highs and lows that Carpenter did. DevilsDigest discussed these events with him, as well as the recruiting journey that landed the quarterback in Tempe.

Back in his junior year, Rudy Carpenter was the toast of Westlake's rival Newbury Park. During that season he completed 295 passes on 408 pass attempts for 3,200 yards and 32 touchdowns. The nimble Carpenter also had 800 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns. His accomplishments helped him garner the Marmonte League's Most Valuable Player award. However, it was a dispute in baseball, another sport Carpenter excelled in, that caused him to transfer to Westlake.

"My sophomore year at Newbury Park we got a new baseball coach," recalled Carpenter who was the MVP of that team. "He said that he didn't like guys that play other sports, but I didn't want to give up football. There were also a series of events with him and some other players. I told the administration that if he isn't fired, I'm gonna leave school, and I did. Two months after I left he got fired."

Carpenter said that it was unfortunate that another sport caused him to leave the football team he cherished so much. "This (transfer) had nothing to do with the football team," he said. "We didn't win that many games, but I loved playing there and I set a lot of records."

Some perceive the sport fans in Southern California as being laid back to a fault. However, when he was going through the transfer process from one high school to another, Carpenter's experience was quite the opposite. "Transferring was one of the worst things that ever happened to me," remarked Carpenter. "The first day I went to Westlake to sign my (transfer) papers, there were ten newspaper cameras and three TV cameras waiting there for me. It has been a big controversy from then until now, because a lot more players are now transferring to other schools."

"There's a high school sports website here," Carpenter continued, "and it had like 40 pages on the message board of people fighting about my transfer. It was ridiculous." What was even more ludicrous in this whole saga was the fact that the quarterback wasn't eligible for 19 weeks following his transfer. He missed spring practice, and wounded up on the JV baseball squad at Westlake because he wasn't eligible to play on any varsity team.

Nevertheless, colleges all around the country were noticing the Los Angeles Daily News Offensive Player of the Year. ASU head coach Dirk Koetter likes to tell the story of how when he was recruiting other Westlake athletes, he stumbled on a game film which featured a game against Newbury Park. In essence this was the Sun Devils' first exposure to Carpenter, and the first time they learned of his transfer to Westlake.

Not only did the signal caller receive a lot of attention from Pac-10 schools, but also many schools from the Big-12, SEC and Big Ten tendered offers to him. In the months prior to his senior year, Carpenter seemed enamored with the thought of playing far away from home. "Tennessee was the first school to offer me," he said. "And back in the summer I really thought I was going there. I liked the trip to Tennessee but being from L.A. it was so different from what I'm used to. The people, the life style, just totally different. I just wasn't ready for a change like that."

Expectations may have been lower for his trip to Tempe, but obviously the outcome was nothing but a positive one. "When I went on my Arizona State visit, I really didn't think I was gonna end up there," stated Carpenter. "I just went there so I could gauge the other visits against it. But I just loved it there, and compared to the other trips it was awesome. Arizona State had everything I wanted in a school and it's not that far from home."

His senior season was his only season at Westlake. Nevertheless, 2003 was a campaign for the ages. Carpenter led Westlake to a Division IV Championship and a 14-0 season "Honestly, when you grow up that's all you dream about – is wining the championship," he said. "Going undefeated was surprising. We beat schools like Hart and Notre Dame that are a couple divisions above us, and that have beaten us the last few years. We got some breaks, but we worked very hard all season. Going undefeated was probably one the most satisfying feelings I ever had. There's no better feeling than to see everything that you put in pay off at the end."

During that magical year, Carpenter completed 163 passes out of 262 attempts for 2,705 yards, 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Once again he showed his elusiveness by rushing for 626 yards and seven scores. Surprisingly, Carpenter listed his mobility as both an asset and a liability. "My strong points are some of my weak points too," he claimed. "One of the things that makes me good is that I run around a lot, make plays, and rarely get sacked. In the college level that will have to change a little because the guys on defense are bigger and faster than high school, and your team doesn't want the quarterback to take that punishment (smile). But being athletic, making throws on the run…those are my strong points."

Coach Koetter's high-octane offense is naturally appealing to quarterbacks such as Rudy Carpenter. Nevertheless, the Prepstar postseason All-American had some interesting observations concerning the Sun Devils' offense. "Coach Koetter told me he wanted a very mobile quarterback," stated Carpenter. "When I sat down with him and watched some film from this season, I wasn't really that impressed with the offense. Andrew is a big guy and not very mobile, and I thought that the offense that he ran wouldn't fit my style."

"But then Coach Koetter said ‘look at my offense from when I was at Oregon and Boise State', and we looked at those films and he said ‘this is what I would like to run. This is my offense, and that's why I need guys like you.' I can learn and play and play in any offense, but that type of offense is what fits me best. It really helps when you're a quarterback, and your head coach was a quarterback."

When speaking of mobility and ASU quarterbacks ex-Sun Devil great Jake Plummer is the first name that comes to mind. Consequently, Carpenter would welcome any comparisons with open arms. "Quarterback wise I most resemble him," he said. "If people say I remind them of Plummer that would be one of the biggest compliments anyone could give me. It would be a big thing for me because he went to Arizona State."

"Attitude wise, I have the same competitive nature as Brett Favre does," Carpenter continued. "I'm not afraid to do things on my own, but I have to be careful doing that in college. Sometimes I take risks, like Favre does, that other quarterbacks wouldn't be taking."

The incoming ASU freshman knows that it's too early to determine whether he would play his freshman year. He added that sitting out would be fine, due to the fact that he really has his eye on an important future goal. "I did tell the coaches that in my opinion, unless they needed it, I would prefer to redshirt so I have a year of learning from Andrew, and getting the whole system down," he said. "It would also give me a year to get bigger, stronger, and faster. I have to get ready to fight for a starting position in 2005 with Sam (Keller) and Mike (Affleck)."

Carpenter plans to come at the end of June for ASU's bridge program, and if all goes well he'll be joined by teammate Patrick Sorenson. "He's doing great in school," said Carpenter about his offensive lineman. "We'll probably know at the end of May what's going on. The ASU coaches have been in contact with him all the time and said that if he qualifies he'll get a scholarship to play." The quarterback added that he's already fully qualified himself.

In talking to Rudy Carpenter, it's hard to overlook the enthusiasm he has to embark on his next challenge. "I'm so excited to go to college. I never really have been outside of this area that I'm from. Hopefully I can become a starter as a redshirt freshman. It's a big goal, but hopefully I can get there." After leading his team to an undefeated season, that somewhat unlikely goal suddenly sounds more attainable…

Recruit Profile


Rudy Carpenter

High School

Westlake HS (Westlake, CA)







Date of Birth



Westlake Village, CA



Favorite TV Show

"American Idol"

Favorite Movie

"Dumb and Dumber"

Favorite Singer/Band


Favorite Food

"Taco Bell"

Favorite Drink


Favorite Athlete

"Lisa Leslie, because she can dunk a basketball."

Favorite Pro Team

"Chicago Bears""

Person you most admire

"My grandma. She took care of me for a long time. She's always been there for me, and she's the reason for where I am right now."

First Football Memory

"I was five years old, and it was the first time I ever played. The first time I ever touched a football, I ran the kickoff for a touchdown."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I like to write poetry."

Why did you choose ASU?

"Out of all the coaches I talked to, I felt the most comfortable with Coach Koetter and Coach Helfrich."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"I just wanted to make a good living. I'm gonna major in Kinesiology, because I'd like to work in sports therapy or sports medicine."

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