Post Signing Day Comments –Tight Ends

Tight end and special teams coach Tom Osborne, talks about the newest Sun Devil tight ends – Aaron Austin and Jamal Lewis. Osborne also shares his thoughts on the recruiting process this year.

"Both are very athletic guys" says the coach, "And will really help us in the passing game. Sometimes when you get athletic guys that can catch well, they usually don't block well on the line of scrimmage. We think they can do both. A lot of other folks think the same. We're excited about those guys. How well they do, how fast they do it remains to be seen."

When asked specifically asked about both, Osborne offered these thoughts:

Jamal Lewis – "To get a young freshman tight end is very hard to find. They're only a handful of them, and everybody is trying to get them. He has the typical high school body, so he's probably not ready to compete yet. He lost a lot of weight playing Basketball, which is common. He's right now at 225, so he'll have to gain his weight back."

Aaron Austin – "More of a catching tight end, but he has good size 6-4 255 and he's blocks well too. He definitely has the size to compete earlier (for a starting spot) out of the two tight ends. To play on the line of scrimmage, you have to be 240-250 pounds. So he should be ready to play early."

Along with his duties as tight ends coach, the second year assistant coach is also in charge of special teams. Looking at the 2002 class, does he see any potential stars on that unit? "We look at all of our guys, aside form the linemen, as potential special teams players. There's nothing worse than being a backup, and not being able to help your team on special teams. The two linebackers and two running backs are the first candidates. That's usually a motivational sales job to tell a running back that's used to carrying the ball all the time, to start covering kickoffs (smile). The safeties can help too. Overall, they are a lot of guys that can help us; we just need to get them in the right spot. We needed to increase our team speed, not only on special teams, but also on offense and defense. I think we did a good job there with this class. Most of them have a lot of speed."

Head coach Dirk Koetter, along with other Pac-10 coaches, were amazed at the blood bath like atmosphere that surrounded the recruiting season. Decommits were at an all-time high, and allegations of dirt tactics have became a major story on signing day. What does a 19-year coach think of what transpired the last few months? "It's getting worse and worse. A lot of players are supposedly committing somewhere early, and then have second thoughts about going somewhere else. If guys like that keep the door open, we try and have them visit here. If the door isn't open, we try and respect their wishes. You have another group of guys who just can't decide, and make a decision at the very end. You have very few kids who take just 2-3 visits, and commit to a school. So the bottom line is that a lot of kids leave the door open, and you try and scramble and work as hard as you can to get that kid. We do believe that we do the right thing when it comes to recruiting. It was just crazy out there. I can write three volumes of books on recruiting stories."

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