Player Position Height Weight School/Hometown Louis Areyan OL 6'4" 290 El Camino CC, CA Aaron Austin TE 6'5" 255 Fresno CC Andre Bailey DB 6'2" 185 McClintock HS, Tempe, AZ Stephen Berg OL 6'6" 305 Canyon Del Oro HS, Tucson, AZ Jake Bingham OL 6'5" 310 Granite Hills HS, El Cajon, CA Kellen Bradley QB 6'3" 195 Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, AZ Mike Davis, Jr. DB 6'2" 170 Cathedral HS, Los Angeles, CA Tim Fa'aita OL 6'2" 300 Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, AZ Matt Fawley DB 6'0" 205 Pearce HS, Richardson, TX Andy Goodenough QB 6'4" 220 Palomar CC, CA Derek Hagan WR 6'3" 180 Pamdale HS, Palmdalde, Ca Randy Hill RB 6'2" 195 McClintock HS, Tempe, AZ Bret Hudson DB 6'3" 205 Grossmont CC, CA Robert James DB 5'11" 180 Maryvale HS, Phoenix, AZ DeAndre Johnson LB 6'2" 225 South Mountain HS, Phoenix, AZ Nick Johnson DL 6'4" 240 Chandler HS, Chanlder, AZ Shane Jones DL 6'3" 285 Sacramento City College, CA Zach Krula OL 6'7" 305 Valley HS, Sacramento, CA Jamal Lewis TE 6'4" 215 Rampart HS, Colorado Springs, CO Alifaleti Likio DL 6'3" 290 Trinity HS, Euless, TX J.W. Lucas DB 6'2" 200 Cactus HS, Glendale, AZ Matt Mason DL 6'5" 260 Glendale CC, AZ Rick Parker DL 6'4" 240 Los Alimitos HS, Los Alimitos, CA Terry Richardson WR 6'1" 180 Centennial HS, Corona, AZ Mike Talbot FB 6'2" 230 Aqua Fria HS, Avondale, AZ Ishmael Thrower DL 6'3" 240 Sacramento City College, CA Loren Wade RB 6'1" 215 Serra HS, Gardena, CA Chaz White OL 6'4" 305 Saint Johns HS, Saint Johns, AZ Jamar Williams LB 6'1" 205 Langham Creek HS, Houston, TXPlayers in bold are already enrolled in school, and count towards last year's 25 player recruiting limit.
Koetter thanked virtually everyone in the athletic administration, as well as the whole Football staff for the efforts during recruiting: "I'm not sure if everybody realizes how much goes into recruiting. It's unbelievable how complex the whole process is." The second year head coach was encouraged that the Sun Devil recruits were able to look past the disappointing 2001 season, when committing to ASU. "I think it's important to mentioned that we're received in our recruiting areas, so much better than you think you are. That's mainly due to our reputation, the tradition of the Football program, our facilities that people used to use against us. The high school coaches in Arizona have been awesome with us. The fact that we signed 11 in-state kids bears that out…They're a lot if kids that want to come here...Starting this spring we'll start expanding (recruiting efforts) to the Hawaiian Islands. Our reception has indicated that we need to spend more time there."
When talking about this year's class, the Sun Devil coach explained why the 2002 class is so big in number: "It makes up for the small class we had last year, because of late start. Please don't mistake that for saying that last year's was poor…it was outstanding. Signing 30 guys allows us to address our needs by position and depth. We signed the exact number of positions players we wanted. This is the first time that this has happened to me. Sometimes you take an extra receiver, because you didn't get a tight end. We met our numbers, which helps balance the depth chart. We added excellent size across the line, and we have added a lot of speed."
Last year, Koetter and his staff had barely 30 days to recruit, due the coaching change at ASU. This year's experience was naturally quite different: "We started of a base that Bruce (Snyder) and his staff had. It was a good group. It was a scramble for us. This year we had an entire year to evaluate our student athletes…I've never seen it like this year, where College Football had the most early commitments of any year, and the most decommitments ever. Down until 11:30 this morning we were still burning the lines. The number of players that we were turning our way the last few weeks was huge. The last 48 hours things have changed so much. Part of it is luck; part of it is being on the right guys. Part of it is the coaches not giving up on those guys…. Carnahan went down the wire, Mike Davis…Chaz White…Jake Bingham…. Every single case (of a decommit or a commit) has its own story. The fact that we do this for a living, I ask that myself a lot (how does one mange through the madness). Here's my theory. A few years ago no one committed early. Then it started back in the east, and moved back in the west. In the past all schools were battling each other, because you just didn't know where a kid would end up. Now, if a guy commits to school X, all the other schools target that one school. There's a couple of guys that we thought we had a good chance at, other schools were hammering us, and they end up not getting him as well and push him somewhere lese. I have never seen this much negative recruiting. We try not to recruit that way, but when you're in a street fight with a bully, you have to defend yourself."
By recruiting 11 Arizona kids, it's safe to say that ASU's staff put a premium on recruiting well in its back yard: "We love to build our foundation of our team with Arizona kids. As someone who has recruited here for 15-16 years, I've seen first hand how the caliber of play has improved here in the Arizona. This state has averaged over 30 Division I players each year. School districts are putting a lot of money in their facilities. As a local school our goal is to recruit well here (in Arizona). You never gonna get any kid you want, because some want to go other places. But we were in there, fighting for every guy. We got the majority of the guys we wanted. If you told me that right now that we would 11 kids from Arizona each year, I would take that home." When asked about the large number of JC kids in the class (7 out of the total of 30), Koetter replied: "Our philosophy in a class of 25, is to sign 5 JC kids. That's the right mix. We ended up with 7 JC. When you lose as many offensive linemen (six) and defensive tackles (3) you forced to recruit JC kids in that position."
If there were any disappointments for this class, you would have to name two. First, Blake Mackey a WR from Centennial HS in California, who was wavering between ASU and Colorado. All indications showed him signing with ASU the last couple of weeks, but he chose Colorado instead. Second, Fred Collins a running back from Westminster HS in California. When asked recently of his favorite schools, he listed San Diego State a distant third behind ASU and Washington. Nevertheless, it was San Diego State that got his letter of intent today.
Getting a solid recruiting class is the best medicine for the miserable hangover of a disappointing season. It's been a long time since the team and its fans felt this good about the program, as they did on letter of intent day. The 2002 recruiting class has answered every need for this team. Some players will show immediate impact this season, but the majority of them will be classified as "wait and see." Thus, fans will be asked again to exhibit patience with this Football team, in hopes that the rewards at the end of the rainbow will be worthwhile…