Osweiler, Tucker Eager to Begin ASU Career

Brock Osweiler and Matt Tucker are a rarity. The early high school graduates will join the maroon and gold in the spring after their Letter of Intent is received by ASU on Wednesday. Both are considered two of the best in the school's 2009 recruiting class, and have a chance to make an early impact. Devils Digest talked to both on the eve of their official commitment to the Sun Devils.

In anticipation of their early high school graduation Aurora (Col.) Grandview HS safety Matt Tucker and Kalispell (Mont.) Flathead HS quarterback Brock Osweiler were the first and second commits respectively in Arizona State's 2009 recruiting class.

Tucker (pictured) is a 6-3 195 athletic phenom who not only excelled in his team's defensive backfield (and part of a defense that allowed less than two touchdowns a game this season) but also suited up for the 12-1 Wolves under center and in his very first year as signal caller led an offense that averaged more than 30 points a game.

The 6-8 235 Osweiler is a gifted two-sport athlete that originally committed to play basketball at a national powerhouse Gonzaga, but later switched not only schools but his sport of choice. As a senior he completed 62% of his passes for over 2,700 yards.

Both players are excited to showcase their skills in Tempe in 2009.

"I can't wait," said Osweiler. "It looks like it's gonna be very good competition between the quarterbacks and it's something I look forward to because for the last three years I've been a full-time starter and very comfortable with no one there really to push me.

"Now it's back to square one like in my freshman year with a lot of competition and competition only makes you play better. It's really exciting – setting goals and going after them."

Tucker, who verbaled to the Sun Devils nearly nine months ago, was naturally anxious for Wednesday afternoon, where he can finally make his March pledge official.

"I'm a little bummed not being with my friends the rest of our senior year," admitted Tucker. "It's kind of weird knowing this is your last week of high school. But going to college early is just a better situation for me."

Coming to college earlier than most freshmen, carries an invaluable benefit according to both ASU newcomers.

"Not only will I have all spring to get used to the academics," explained Osweiler, "but when fall rolls around and the season starts I won't have any surprises. I'll already have a set in stone schedule and see how things work.

"The quarterback position – there's just so much you need to know and it's more than just having natural ability. There's a lot of time that needs to get invested in playing the position and me going down early I can jump into that playbook, getting to know it six months earlier than I would normally be able do. I'll train with college wide receivers instead of high school wide receivers, getting used to college game.

"When fall camp rolls around it would be almost like starting your sophomore year."

One look at Arizona State's depth chart reveals that the safety position will be hotly contested among several relative inexperienced players. Thus, Tucker knows that enrolling in the spring can help even the playing field and increase his chances of not redshirting his freshman year.

"In a way playing behind upperclassmen is good because I get to learn more from them," stated Tucker, "but being with younger players and having more competition will definitely push me and get me to play better, faster.

"There are spots open and everyone will have a chance for it. It all comes down to how I prepare and show up for practice."

Some of the buzz concerning the Sun Devils in the last few weeks, has been centered around the apparent change of offensive philosophy and moving to a spread offense or at least significantly including that scheme in ASU's playbook.

The maroon and gold have went so far as to offering last Saturday Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco's quarterback Keith Price, who excelled in that type of offense. Even though it seems now that Price, a University of Washington commit, will honor his original pledge, Osweiler welcomed the possible addition of Price or any other signal caller for that matter.

"The best player will play," stated Osweiler. "That's how it will be and that's how it should be. If they bring another quarterback in my class that will make work that much harder."

With a frame naturally suited more for basketball, some have already determined that a forward, such as Osweiler, wouldn't be equipped to run a spread offense. This is a notion that the signal caller strongly disagrees with.

"ESPN said that ‘I'm a pocket passer, but don't rely on me to make plays with my feet'…I took comments like that to heart," said Osweiler, "and that's why my main focus when working out, besides throwing, was my speed, my agility and quickness. That's what I worked on in the off-season every single day with my trainer."

Rushing for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with passing for 2,703 yards and 27 touchdowns Osweiler believes that he has already shown that he can be a dual threat quarterback.

"So when Arizona State goes to a spread offense, it's something I'm already used to," noted Osweiler. "The offense we played is kind of like the Urban Meyer offense they played at Utah. But I also know that I'm stepping to a higher level and all that speed and strength has to go up a few notches."

As a senior, Tucker was also a dual threat quarterback in his own right. The Wolves' signal caller threw for 830 yards, ten touchdowns and two interceptions, and added nine scores on the ground rushing for 800 yards.

Nonetheless, he knows his future with the Sun Devils is at safety. As a senior in that role he collected 96 total tackles, four interceptions, and two recovered fumbles (one of them for a touchdown).

"This year was definitely about my angles," said Tucker in regards to his skills improvement. "I was able to run my angles faster, and cutting the field shorter. Me and my coach felt that I really completed that task."

Tucker added that he worked a lot on his quickness, and maintaining a strong frame that won't fluctuate in weight from the beginning to the end of the season.

Osweiler and Matt Tucker admitted that watching ASU play during its 5-7 campaign was disappointing. On the other hand, both saw some encouraging signs that made them believe that a turnaround is highly feasible in 2009.

Osweiler contended that the offense's normally lackluster performance this past season, wasn't because of a lack of effort. "That excites me," he said, "because there's gonna be great competition this spring and a good quarterback will emerge that will able to move the offense and put points on the board.

"We have great athletes coming back and it's exciting playing with players like that next year. I know great things can happen."

The Sun Devil defense performed well despite the disappointing record, especially in the later part of the season and that didn't go unnoticed by Tucker.

"The defense came to play every week," said Tucker, "but it was young, it was on the field a lot and it got worn out. But they played well and scored a record four touchdowns against UCLA. Even against good teams like USC and Georgia they played great all game.

"I know I'm coming into a good defense."

Both players will arrive on campus in mid-January, and will naturally be roommates at the same dorm. This living situation will help beyond the obvious reason that they will get to experience the early transition to college life together.

"We both play quarterbacks," explained Tucker. "The safety is the quarterback of the defense, and Brock plays on offense, so we can learn from each other."

Every day that goes by brings Brock Osweiler and Matt Tucker closer to the launch of their college career, and even though both realize that the transition could be a rough one, the motivation and enthusiasm in their voice is undeniable.

"I can't wait to get down there and put in some work," said Osweiler. "I plan to put in numerous hours trying to be that guy next year or pushing the quarterback to the best of my abilities and help Arizona State be a better team.

"We discussed the direction the offense and where it is heading and where it is at right now. It's a great situation for me and the Arizona State offense only has a bright future head, when it is in the hands of two great coaches like Coach Erickson and Coach Olson. Hopefully the offense will improve from what it was this year."

"I just wanna come in and learn the defense as quickly as I can," said Tucker, "because it's different that what I ran at high school. It's time now to play with the big boys."

The quicker Brock Osweiler and Matt Tucker grow up and mature, the better the Sun Devil football team will be for it.

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