Local ASU Signees Relish in LOI Day Event

In what could be the start of a great LOI day tradition, Majerle's Sports Bar and Grill in Chandler hosted all of the Arizona high school players that faxed in their Letters of Intent to various colleges across the country. DevilsDigest.com sat down with some of the newest Sun Devils to talk about this special day and their recruiting experience with ASU.

The trade that landed Shaquille O'Neil with the Phoenix Suns, was naturally the primary sports story shown on the numerous TV's at the restaurant. Athlete Keelan Johnson jokingly complained about this blockbuster move shadowing him and his fellow high school players' special day. "I think it's the dumbest move ever," he said laughing and the 6-2 200 Johnson knows a thing or two about the roundball as a starter for the Mesa Jackrabbits.

Johnson viewed his signing with ASU today as an obvious life changing event. "It's very exciting being one step closer to playing at Arizona State," he commented. The Mesa standout originally committed to Nebraska and changed his commitment only a few weeks before signing day and admitted that it was a hard decision.

"I'm the type of person who doesn't like to say ‘no' to people," he noted. "I always wanna make everybody happy. But it was a good decision to come to ASU…you see all these good players like Gerrell Robinson, Jarrell Barbour here and you know that you'll be playing with them so that's cool. That makes you feel good about your decision."

Gerrell Robinson is Scout Top 100 player and the jewel crown of all the local high players who pledged to the maroon and gold. The Chandler Hamilton wide receiver de-committed from the University of Arizona before committing to the Sun Devils, who he ultimately chose over Notre Dame and Oregon.

The 6-4 210 Robinson made his commitment to ASU in dramatic fashion during the nationally televised U.S. Army All –Star game, which signaled one phase of his recruitment being over. Then again, the pursuit of this elite prospect didn't cease even after he made his intentions known.

"I'm happy to get the signing over with and I'm very happy with my decision," he said. "Schools like Missouri were calling me wanting to visit…Tennessee and Notre Dame were calling. To be honest with you I went ahead and disconnected my phone and got a new number so they couldn't get a hold of me…everything worked out for the best."

Patrick Jamison was one of the few ASU signees who committed before the season started. The 6-5 290 Chandler Hamilton offensive lineman obviously had a good feeling about ASU's season before it even started and ultimately a ten-win campaign didn't nothing but validate his decision.

"Seeing the way they were successful made me more secure in my decision," he remarked. "I'm real excited that's for sure. It was a great relief to commit early and it's a relief to get this over with and sign my letter. It's great seeing all the good players from my state play for ASU and I hope this recruiting class starts a trend so that we can get all the good players from the state playing for ASU."

Fellow offensive lineman Zach Schlink was another pre-regular season pledge, but he was relieved to commit to ASU in the summer for much different reasons. The Peoria Centennial player faxed his letter "as soon as I could this morning" and when you hear his story it's easy to understand why.

"In the third game of the season right before halftime," recalled the 6-4 300 Schlink, "I was wearing a knee brace but someone hit me on the ‘sweet spot' of my knee from the side and it tore up some cartilage under the kneecap…when I was laying on the ground I was saying to myself ‘thank you for committing early.' That's what I was thinking about right away after I got hurt."

Schlink said that currently he's "90 percent" healed and fully expects to work out with the team in July. The lineman said that today he was just "on cloud nine…I love the coaching staff, it was close to home and I did have good feeling about this team. Then they went out and won ten games."

Allante Battle, a state champion sprinter, started out his recruiting journey with ASU as football commit. However with a chance to make more of an impact his freshman year in Track and Field, he did sign an LOI with that program. "If I signed with football that would mess up what I wanted to do in track," he said. "I'm really excited to join the team especially with the new track they put in the stadium. I'm gonna run the 100m, 200m and maybe 400m."

Battle said that his final decision to sign a T&F LOI came in the later stages of the football season. "This gives me one more year to still do track and see what I want to do with football," he commented. "I'm very happy with my decision."

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