Introducing the 2004 Class: Maurice London

A mid-year junior college transfer is always high on the recruiting wish list of football coaches. Safety Maurice London fits that bill, and is happy himself that he is getting a head start on the 2004 season by already being enrolled in school and participating in spring practice. In this exclusive interview, DevilsDigest covered those topics and more with the Sun Devils' member of the 2004 class.

"Coming to school in the spring is really good," said London who earned first-team all-state and all-American accolades as a sophomore at Grossmont junior college. "I came in at 170lbs, and I'm 180 now. I'm trying to get up to 190. When you come in the spring, you talk to your teammates and you know what are some good classes to take in the fall. You also get more time to learn the plays, adjust to the team, and know your way around Tempe. It's a big advantage."

ASU was one of the first schools to show heavy interest in the safety, who tallied 70 tackles, and eight interceptions in his freshman year. "The first time ASU could contact me I got a call from coach Fidler," stated London. "It was the spring practice following my freshman year. My coach at Grossmont told me that ASU wanted me to leave junior college after my first year, but I had to wait until I graduated. Coach Fidler told me how interested he was in me, and that he was gonna see me at practice. After he saw me at practice he called me from ASU the next day and offered me a scholarship." London, mentioned San Diego State as the only school back then that was heavily interested in his services.

The junior college transfer didn't waste much time pursuing his recruiting opportunity with the Sun Devils, and came to Tempe in July of last year for an unofficial visit, which resulted in an ensuing verbal commitment. Naturally, his first impression of the Sun Devils was extremely positive. "The teammates were like one big family," London described his visit. "You can tell that everybody looked after each other. They were driving me all around, and I offered them gas money, and they said ‘No, you're like family now. Don't worry about it.' You can tell they were a true team and they showed a lot of unity."

Committing prior the regular season kickoff is designed to alleviate the recruiting pressure that could distract a player from the season on hand. In reality, it didn't exactly work that way for London. "After schools heard I committed to Arizona State they backed off," recalled London. "I felt that I made the right decision at first, but I told schools that I was gonna keep an open mind. Sometimes I wondered if I should have committed so early. I was one of the few people to get a lot of awards my freshman year. My rating was high, and I didn't know if it was because I committed early or because of my size…so a lot of other schools started looking at me. But I just stuck with Arizona State in the end."

The Sun Devils have already established themselves a nice pipeline to the San Diego area junior college. London current teammate, Josh Golden was a member of the Griffins, and just departed safety Brett Hudson played two years at Grossmont. However, London said that this fact wasn't a strong one through out the whole recruiting process. "ASU did have two good Grossmont players that were playing well there," he remarked. "So I thought because Grossmont had good tradition at ASU that I could succeed there. But at the same time, I wasn't thinking that way until the end of the recruiting process." Ironically, him and Hudson both wore the #2 jersey at Grossmont, and London will continue to wear that number at ASU, just like Hudson did.

London is a native of Atlanta, which begs the question why he chose to play at a junior college so far from home. The safety said that it was an unlikely destination to a bumpy journey. "I wasn't a qualifier out of high school," he said. "So I walked on to Middle Georgia College. It was a junior college an hour away from home. I had some issue with my test, so I had to wait out a year. In the spring after everybody paid their tuition, the school decided to drop football. Once that happened, I didn't know what I was gonna do…"

"One of my coaches started calling around to different junior colleges," continued London. "There was a junior college in Mississippi that was going to offer me but they wanted to see some film from high school, and I didn't have a lot of film to show them. So because I didn't have enough highlights to show them, they chose a defensive lineman over me."

The safety admitted that going to California was his final resort, but his coach assured him that he would net a scholarship at any school there. "My coach wanted to try to get me in a school closer to home," said London. "It came to a point where I had to use my last option. My mom wasn't happy about me going so far, but she understood that I wanted to play football. She paid my out of state tuition and everything worked out good for me."

One of the obvious advantages of a mid-year transfer is the opportunity to participate in spring practice. London describes his experience thus far as the usual learning curve associated with first year players. "I feel real good about my spring practice," said the Defensive Most Valuable Player at Grossmont. "I'm working real hard, and even though I'm making a couple of mistakes, at the same time I'm learning from my mistakes and I'm getting a lot better, stronger, and faster."

As a sophomore last year, London amassed 75 tackles; seven pass breakups, and four interceptions. While some draw the natural conclusion that London has come to replace Brett Hudson, his skills and physical tools, as well as his the words he heard during the recruiting process point to him being the successor to Jason Shivers. The safety talked about following in the footsteps of ASU's leading tackler the last three years.

"When people ask me ‘can I be the one to replace Jason Shivers?' I take that as a compliment," commented London, "and I know I have to get better if I will replace him. It's motivation for me, because I want to better than him. I don't put myself ahead of him, but I just want to improve. I understand as a junior college player they want you to come in and contribute right away. Hopefully I'll come up on top." London added that he only met Shivers a couple of times and had nothing but "small talk" with the now departed Sun Devil safety.

Currently, the junior college transfer, who rated as the No. 70 junior college recruit in the nation by SuperPrep Magazine, is battling another standout safety for playing time. "I was alternating (in the starting lineup) with Emmanuel Franklin when Riccardo Stewart was playing," he said. "When Riccardo got hurt I started instead of him. In a way it will be a disappointment if I don't start. But I'm also a team player and I love winning. So I'll do whatever I can help the team. The special teams coach loves me right now (smile). So If I can also contribute there it's all good. I don't like losing. I play with all my heart out there. I never put myself ahead as an individual, because I love to win. If we win, I'll like playing wherever."

Despite his strong work ethic, engaging personality, and solid football skills, London knows that due to the fact that he just joined a team a few months ago, he can't quite yet ascertain himself as a leader. Nevertheless, he knows that day isn't that far away. "Right now I'm just watching and learning from the older players," London stated. "They're working real hard, and they want everybody else to work hard with them. At the same time, I'm not trying to establish myself as a leader right now, because I just got here. Even though I may know more than a freshman, it won't be right for me to tell him what to do. When I get the system down under my belt, I'll start being a leader."

The emotion and high level of competition has become s staple of ASU's spring practices this year. While the safety enjoys that aspect and recognizes its importance, he does offer an interesting perspective on this topic. "It gets everyone fired up," he said, "but everybody should be fired up all the time. You don't have to be fired up only when there's some competition at practice, you should be fired up because you're playing Division I football. Going through junior college, I understand that a lot of people don't have what we have, and we have to take advantage of it because we're lucky to be playing football at this level."

His goals for the rest of spring practice are simple in nature. "I'm trying to get faster and replace Jason Shivers like everyone is asking me (smile). I never felt a crowd over 30,000 people. If we start winning I know we'll have more than that watch us play." And those who will see Maurice London strut his skills should be pleased with the newest member of the Sun Devils…

Recruit Profile


Maurice London

High School

Creekside High School (Fairburn, Ga.)







Date of Birth



Atlanta, Ga.



Favorite TV Show

"Fresh Prince of Bel Air"

Favorite Movie

"Friday After Next"

Favorite Singer/Band

"T.I. He's a rapper from Atlanta."

Favorite Food

"Hot Wings. That's the main dish in Atlanta."

Favorite Drink

"Kool Aid"

Favorite Athlete

"Champ Bailey"

Favorite Pro Team

"Atlanta Falcons. It used to be the Redskins before they traded Bailey."

Person you most admire

"My mother. She always looked out for me. She paid my way to go to junior college in San Diego. She really helped me to be successful."

First Football Memory

"My junior year in high school was the first year I was starting. I made a tackle, and someone kicked me so hard in my groin, I was out two series. The coach keep yelling ‘Maurice are you all right?' and I just told him "give me another series (smile).' That's something I'll always remember…"

One Thing most people don't know about me

"In the eight grade my Mom asked me if I wanted to do football or Karate. I chose Karate over football. I wasn't that good. I just got to the yellow stripe on the white belt level (smile)."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I really liked it on my unofficial visit in the summer, even though there was almost no one at school. I could tell it's the place for me. It was 120 degrees when I visited (smile), but I had a good time."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"If I do go to the NFL, I hope to still be playing there. If that doesn't work, I would love to be a coach in high school or college."

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