2009 Class Addresses Needs, Bolsters Depth

Arizona State's current recruiting class may not be as star-studded as last year's, but it's also far from being a disappointment. The Sun Devils are scheduled to sign two Top-100 national players, and have several other prospects who stand to play key roles, if not starters, for the maroon and gold when they begin the season on September 5th.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler is a rarity for many reasons. Not only does he stand at 6-8 235 and is a former basketball commit to a perennial top 25 program in Gonzaga, but he's also a mid-year high school transfer. The early buzz on the Kalispell, Montana product is that he has a very good chance not to redshirt. Going through spring practice will naturally only enhance his chances of not sitting out in 2009.

Offensive line, in particular tackles, was a pressing need in this class. The Maroon and gold were able to add two guards, both local – Kody Koebensky and Fred Thornton, who was voted to the Arizona Republic's 5A first team. ASU was able to land an offensive tackle, Evan Finkenberg, late in the recruiting process and although he wasn't heavily recruited early in the season he could ultimately prove to be one of the most valuable players signing on Wednesday.

The running back position was another group that was a priority and the Sun Devils are extremely elated to welcome 2008 Northern California Player of the Year Cameron Marshall. The San Jose running back was high on ASU's recruiting board ever since last spring, and the Devils had to wait nearly four months from the time of his official visit to get a coveted verbal commitment. Marshall should prove to be worth the wait, since he's is a dream combination of speed and strength, and is another freshman that stands a very good chance to make an early impact.

Local running back Jamal Miles was another fairly late addition to the class. The Peoria ball carrier, who scored 29 touchdowns as a senior, is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. Nonetheless, there have been many whispers concerning the fact that he may be moved to the secondary, as is the case with fellow local running back Marcus Washington from Desert Vista, who missed a good portion of his senior season with a stress fracture.

One wide receiver, J.J. Holliday, is currently the only player in his position that will sign in the 2009 class. The Tucson wideout scored 13 TD's and collected 1,100 yards last year and is considered among the state's best in the 4A1/4A2 level. There is a chance that Diante Jackson, will choose ASU over Oregon who he had committed to originally and Colorado who he is softly committed to now. The Walnut Creek (Calif.) product's recruitment has been a roller coaster to say the least and ironically ASU could be the beneficiary of this chaotic situation.

Los Angeles Crenshaw's Kemonte Bateman, who signed in the 2008 class, is continuing to try and gain academic eligibility and will actually take a college entrance exam this weekend. If he achieves a qualifying score he will join ASU in June and become one of the most important signees on offense.

The tight end group is extremely inexperienced, and to some extent not very deep. ASU will have two solid signings in the class with Max Smith and Christopher Coyle. Smith was voted to the Arizona Republic's 4A first team (as did Holliday and Miles) and is a solid blocker who has showed a knack for making plays in the passing game. Coyle in an Army All-American selection who has collected ten TD's in the last two seasons and is a proven threat in the passing game.

The ten in-state ASU signees are led by defensive tackle Corey Adams. The five-star prospect from Scottsdale Saguaro is another long sought after recruiting target who should be worth the wait. Adams is the best defensive tackle in the state and ranked eighth best in the position nationally by Scout.com.

Will Sutton may not come with the same accolades as Adams, but the Corona Centennial standout is considered California's top defensive tackle in the 2009 class and he gives an invaluable boost to the position.

Dean Deleone is one of two mid-year JC transfers in this class. The Orange Coast defensive end is a speedy pass rusher, and at age 25 is obviously much more mature than the typical junior. Gregory Smith, from Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill High School is a versatile two-way threat, who could play tight end, fullback, linebacker or defensive end. Right now it appears that this incoming freshman will line up at defensive end when fall camp begins.

The Sun Devil nation eagerly anticipates the official word that Scout.com's top rated middle linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, has de-committed from USC in favor of ASU. The five-star prospect is an aggressive tackler who possesses the right rate of speed to be the constant playmaker, who will naturally pick up the play of the defense a few notches.

Anthony Jones is speedy linebacker, who is also known as fierce hitter. He will certainly be in contention for the WILL role at linebacker.

At safety a pair of talented freshmen will be vying for playing time on a unit which competition for playing time is wide open to say the least. Matt Tucker is the other mid-year high school transfer and this gifted athlete can make a great push for a high seeding on the depth chart in spring practice. Apache Junction's Shane McCullen hopes to recover successfully from shoulder surgery in time for fall camp. He's another athletic player that stands a good chance to make his presence known as a freshman.

LeQuan Lewis is a JC mid-year transfer at cornerback that will make a serious claim for a starting position in spring practice. His sub 4.3 speed will not only come handy in the secondary, but also as a returner on special teams. Osahon Irabor, from Upland (Calif.) High School is a physical player at his position, and one that also stands not to redshirt.


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