LOI Press Conference Quotes

ASU head coach Dennis Erickson addressed the media as he introduced the 21 members of ASU's 2009 recruiting class.

Opening Statement

"First of all, the staff did an outstanding job of doing the recruiting. We bring players on campus and they meet with all the academic people and all of the other people on campus that are such a key to recruiting, it is a huge part of it. Once they get here, Jean (Boyd) did a great job. The thing about recruiting that people don't understand is that every coach is involved with every prospect. It isn't just the one area that is recruiting him, it is a team effort.

"The other key is evaluation is our biggest key. Evaluation isn't just going on YouTube and watching a guy play and watching him on tape. Evaluation is a lot of different things. How important is the game to him? What kind of student is he, what kind of courage? All these different things that you check over a year or two years. There are some guys we recruited since I've been here.

"The other thing is recruitability. Recruitability is whether this guy wants to come to Arizona State. Not everybody wants to come to Arizona State, but a lot do. Those are all of the things that we are involved in. I look at this class, every bit as good as the one we had last year. A little different in some areas, but if you add it to the class we had last year and the year before, it is an excellent class. Sometimes they aren't as highly rated for their services, but that is all part of evaluation. A lot of it is not how they are now, it's how they are going to be two years from now, three years from now."

On Corey Adams

"Corey Adams, you know about him at Saguaro. He is one of the better defensive linemen in the country. He has an opportunity to come in and play."

On Vontaze Burfict

"Vontaze, we all know about Vontaze. I have been recruiting a long time and I don't know if I have seen a better high school football player than him. Plus all of the other intangibles he has that makes him a great football player. He obviously could come in and have an impact next year."

On Chris Coyle

"Out of Oaks Christian, great football school. School that has had a lot of players, the first one we have had. He has huge potential at tight end, is a great route runner. He committed very early and was very heavily recruited. Some of these guys that committed early, so they stopped being recruited. Chris is going to come in and help us at tight end."

On the mid-year transfers

"There are four that are here, two junior college players. Dean Deleone, in talking to our strength coach, he is what we though. He can run, at 250 pounds. He was a good junior college player; he is going to have an impact. Lewis is a guy that can run; I've been told he is the fastest player on our team. We kind of knew that when we recruited him. He can add a lot at corner, return, he can do a lot of different things.

"Two true freshmen, this has never been done here since 1984. The trend that is happening in college football, players graduate early and go to the school that they chose for the spring semester. It happens a lot, this is our first two. Brock Osweiler to me has huge potential. We haven't seen him other than in the weight room, he's very athletic, you wouldn't know he is six foot eight. Matt Tucker is a guy that has huge potential. Those are four guys that will be here for spring football. We recruit junior college players for a need and to come in and play right away."

On Evan Finkenberg

"Evan Finkenberg is a guy that is a great story. About three days before he started his senior year, he was a tight end. But he is 265 pounds and they decided before they started practice that they would move him to tackle. He is what you need at tackle, there season lasted long because they were in the playoffs; you get him on tape after he played there for awhile.

"Will he play next year? No. Offensive linemen don't. If you think a freshman offensive lineman will come in and play, you are kidding yourself. Down the road he is the kind of guy that we want. When I go to a home with a 265 pounder and you tell mom that he is going to be 310 pounds some day, they don't really like that. He is a kind of guy that you need at tackle."

On JJ Holliday

"We looked at a lot of receivers. We wanted to take two; we may end up taking two, or three. It is not over until it's over. He was on the field, as good as I have seen. If you watched the playoff games around here you saw that. He is growing all the time. He is a great route runner, he has great hands and he is a track guy. He is going to get bigger. Those are things that you have to look at as you recruit. You aren't going to get ready made players."

On Osahon Irabor.

"He is a guy that committed early to us. He was #1 at corner for us, from last spring. He committed very early to us and was very heavily recruited. He has a chance to come and play next year."

On Anthony Jones

"Here is a guy that when you look at him play, out of Hamilton, he can run. He is 210 pounds, but he can run, he can run. That is one basic thing that all of these guys have. He is going to be an outside linebacker."

On Kipeli Koniseti

"Kipeli Koniseti, we knew about all the time. I watched him play; he is a guy that won a state championship at Grant High School. He was the quarterback, the leader of that football team. He is 6-3, 235 pounds and he can run. He has played defense, he's played every place. He was the best athlete on the field.

"Where are we going to play him? I don't know. But I do know that he is a football player and loves to play, we will find a place for a guy like that. He could be a linebacker, he could be a tight end, he could be a defensive, whatever down the road. We are excited about having him."

On Kody Koebensky

"Kody Koebensky is a guy we have had in camp. One thing about having guys in camp is you know them, you see them. He played tackle in high school, he could play tackle, could end up going down inside. Tough guy, football is important to him and he could be a heck of an offensive lineman for us."

On Cameron Marshall

"Cameron Marshall was in our camp too, Northern California player of the year. He is 210 pounds and will end up running around a 10.5 100 meters. We had him in camp; we saw what he can do. A year for now we lose three backs, so that was a key area for us."

On Shane McCullen

"Shane McCullen is just a great athlete, talk about a guy that wants to be here and wants to be a Sun Devil. They all do, believe me they all do. He is a guy that was at our camp, at every game, a great high school athlete that can run. We project him as a safety."

On Jamal Miles

"Jamal Miles, you talk about speed. He can make big plays for you whether it is in the running game or in the passing game. He is just a great athlete, we are going to start him at running back but he can play a lot of places for us. He is a good football player."

On Greg Smith

"Greg Smith is an interesting story. I get to know these guys real well. This guy is going to be a really good player for us. He has had a lot of tough things in his life, but has fought through him. People don't really understand what goes on, what we deal with. Here is a guy that has done a lot of things; we project him as a defensive end."

On Max Smith

"Max Smith, talk about a guy that wants to be here. I watched Saguaro play Chaparral live, this guy is just a football player. He is just a football player. He is tough; he is a lot of different things. In our offense he can be a tight end a fullback type guy."

On Will Sutton

"Will Sutton, him and Vontaze, we have three guys on our team that won state championships. Heck of an athlete, you watch him play the game and it seems like nobody ever blocks him. He has a lot of potential."

On Fred Thornton

"Fred Thornton is a guy with a lot of upside. Danny Cozzetto recruited him, when we talked about him; I asked Danny what is he like? He said just like Marvel (Smith). That was good enough for me, he is still playing. Like I said, it is going to take a year or two to get going. That is what we have to do to build this front.

"Guys that played last year are going to be a whole lot better next year. That is how we have to build our offensive front. Eventually you get to that point where freshman come in and redshirt that is how you build a solid program."

On Marcus Washington

"Marcus Washington is out of Desert Vista. He has been hurt off and on, people don't know a lot about him but we do know a lot about him. He is a great hurdler, you will see what speed he has this spring. He is going to continue to get bigger; he is a guy with a great future."

Overall on the class

"These guys have one thing in common; they love to play the game. It is important to them. They just don't go out there because they have a scholarship or they get to go to the training table or wear sweats, they love to play the game. In similarity to last year's class or the previous year's class, they all have that in common. I am excited about this class, very comparable to last years. Hopefully they will all be the same for a long period of time when that happens you will have a pretty good program and win a lot of football games."

On if they got what they wanted or they if they wanted more at a position

"I think it takes care of itself. You always have numbers on the board; you try to stay close to that numbers. You can't have too much at a position. When we put our board up of who we are recruiting, we also put up our depth chart of who we have returning. Seniors, juniors and who we are going to lose down the road. Nothing really jumps out right now. The running back situation, we lose three seniors, we took care of that. We lose a couple of linebackers, Nix, Travis and Munnsy; we filled that need pretty good the last few years. Offensive front we wanted to take two or three and we took three. We have pretty good depth at receiver, we lose three and we added one, we may end up with one down the road. I think probably if anything, another receiver."

On who he would compare Burfict too that he has coached or recruited

"I guess I could say Ray Lewis, but I don't want to put that pressure on him. I was the head coach at Miami when we recruited Ray Lewis, I heard Tubberville today, he takes credit for it, I guess I have no chance. I don't want to put that kind of pressure, but maybe a Michael Barrow. You guys have watched him on tape and in the all-star game; every time he plays he dominates. When he hits you, it hurts.

"He has that kind of attitude, I hate to put pressure on a freshman coming in, because it's a different game, but this guy is pretty good. He is beyond his years. I am going to start coaching middle linebackers now."

On in-state recruiting and putting up a fence around Arizona

"We won a lot of them, we lost some. The ones we got, that is what I worry about. I have never ever in my life, worried about who we lost. What good does it do you? We lost some, obviously Kennard and Craig Roh. Good luck to them, we spent a lot of time recruiting them. Great kids and great families, but they decided to go elsewhere. We are getting there; we are getting a lot of them. Nine is pretty good. I said this a year ago, if we can keep the talent here, if we can keep the majority of the players here, we are going to win. Guys are going to want to leave."

On the improvement of Arizona High School football and its talent

"It is unbelievably improved. We recruited here in 1999 and 2000 when I was at Oregon St.; the talent level has really improved. They do a great job of coaching, the way things are set up with playoffs and spring football have made things a lot better too."

On getting a pipeline at all certain high schools and the affect

"It is huge; recruiting has a lot to do with who is here when you come on your trip. Vontaze, let's face it, Shelley is here, Brandon, Ryan, they are happy here, thank god. You go into Oaks Christian next year, for example, there are some players there. It helps and makes a big difference. In state it doesn't have to be from the same school, but from this area because they all know each other. It has a huge influence.

"They see in this area that we are going in the right direction, football wise and the whole athletics at Arizona State. It increases our chances and it will continue to increase our chances. Now we have to play on Saturdays, one thing about recruiting, nobody cares. I love our fans because they get excited about recruiting, as so as its over it is what is going to happen in spring football or you better win some football games. I have never seen anyone win a national title on signing day."

On if Brock Osweiler would have been recruited more if he wasn't from Montana

"There are places in this country where there are good football players that nobody knows about. If he was in California, Texas, Florida or the South, I don't know. I'm glad he wasn't. That is about evaluation, finding where the players are. It doesn't matter where they come from or what they are rated. As long as they are football players and you can win with them that is the bottom line. Not a lot of people go up there (Montana). I have a lot of people I went to college with that call me, that are still alive. At least I think they are still alive."

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