Numbers Crunch

18 verbals down and 2, 3, or 4 to go…? Arizona State's recruiting class is shaping up quite nicely to say the least, and the intrigue over who's still <B>on the board</B> and who will sign a Letter of Intent with the Sun Devils and be <B>onboard</B> is at a feverish high. DevilsDigest projects how will ASU's 2005 class materialize on February 2nd.

How many scholarships does ASU have to give out?

This is the $64,000 question on the minds of the maroon and gold fans. It is believed that the Sun Devils have 21 scholarships to give (which includes Emmanuel Franklin and R.J. Oliver who were granted a sixth year of eligibility), and with 18 verbal commits one cannot assume that they're only three spots to be filled. Many factors can come into play here:

Attrition. We should preface this section saying that we don't know of any players leaving the program, nor will we speculate on any candidates.

Granted, having only 21 available scholarships is a great testament to the high retention rate that Head Coach Dirk Koetter and his staff were able to accomplish. Nevertheless, every year, for a multitude of reasons, players do leave the program. Thus, it's not inconceivable to imagine a few roster spots opening up in 2005. On that note, it would make sense to have a recruiting class that is greater than 21.

Academic CausalitiesAnother natural aspect of a football team. ASU was one of three Pac-10 schools that had all of its 2004 class members qualify academically, and the Sun Devil coaches usually don't take chances in this area. However, just like attrition, academics are something that is taken in consideration when trying to figure out the number of scholarships available.

"Grayshirting."A practice more common at other schools, but it could occur at ASU as well. This term Grayshirting relates to a prospect who signs a Letter of Intent, and pays his own way in his first year with the understanding that he will get a scholarship in the following year. Again, this is another scenario that can inflate the numbers of a recruiting class.

Which Prospects Are Left on the Board?

DT DeMarcus Granger – not only the most coveted recruit by the ASU coaches, but also a bona fide blue chipper that can shore up a great area of need. Granger is scheduled to decide the week of NLI day, and speculation is that while he does want to be a Sun Devil, his family wants him to stay close to home and visit Oklahoma. Throw in a visit on the 28th to Tennessee, and it's easy to see why this one will be a classic nail biter.

DE Jameon Hardeman – Granger's Kimball high school teammate has been believed to be lumped into a package deal with his line mate. ASU is the only school that has offered both players, so it would be fair to assume that the Sun Devils have the upper hand. However, if Granger goes elsewhere, it would be quite surprising to see Hardeman land in Tempe.

OL Raphael Ieru - With three offensive linemen verbaled, J.D. Walton, Thomas Altieri, and Richard Tuitu'u, one may wonder if there's still room for this Aloha state prospect. He does play a position that isn't exactly lacking bodies at ASU, but we believe that if he truly wants to come here the Sun Devils will find room for him.

WR Brandon Smith – the soft verbal to Washington was very impressed during his Tempe visit this past weekend. Receiver is another position that wouldn't classify as a need, but we believe the Sun Devils wouldn't turn him down if he wished to don the maroon and gold.

LB Josh Mauga – Could have been the third Reno player in three years to sign with ASU. However, with the commitment of Chad Lindsey, and Mauga's insistence on tripping to Oregon, it would appear that he's no longer a viable candidate. Then again, his versatility may still be appealing despite the few rides left.

LB E.J. Savannah – while ASU would love to have him in the fold, he seems to favor the hometown Washington Huskies.

They are other prospects that have visited ASU such as Mickey Pimentel, Dario Arezzo, Rogers Loche, Jarius Byrd, etc. but we don't believe that they would classify as viable ASU prospects at this time.

What Does our Crystal Ball Say?

In our opinion, we see no more than three more ASU commitments. We'll go out on a limb and say: The Texas duo of DeMarcus Granger and Jameon Hardeman, as well as Brandon Smith will all ink their John Hancock on a Letter of Intent that says: Arizona State University, making this class a legitimate national top 10 group.

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