Taylor Kelly (Eagle, Idaho/Eagle HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: After four-star prospect Peter Thomas rescinded his commitment to ASU in December, the Sun Devil coaching staff was forced to scramble to find a replacement, and in the eyes of head coach Dennis Erickson, they found a viable one. More of a mobile, dual-threat type compared to the pocket-sturdy Thomas, the 6-3, 185-pound Kelly is regarded as an excellent athlete with the abilities to be a leader in the huddle.
After passing for 2,509 yards with 22 touchdowns and amassing 1,005 rushing yards and 10 scores as a senior while leading Eagle High School to the Idaho Class 5A State Championship, Kelly decided to withdraw the commitment he had made to the University of Nevada and join the maroon and gold. A long time Sun Devil fan who will undoubtedly draw references to ASU legend Jake Plummer –also an Idaho native—Kelly was rated as the No. 84 quarterback prospect in the country by Scout.com.
Coach Erickson on Kelly: "Taylor Kelly is a guy I really liked. He is out of Boise, Idaho. Taylor is a guy that led Eagle High School to a state championship. Very athletic. Starter on the basketball team. I had heard about him, so I started watching tape on him. That area is not recruited real heavily. I know the head coach Paul Peterson. We visited. I had a couple people call me. I really studied him. I looked about seven games. Games. Not highlights. Games. To me quarterback highlight films are so over rated. You see all the good plays, not the bad plays. I watched him from start to finish. He is a winner and a great athlete. He is about 6-3, 185 pounds. He has a really good arm. He runs 4.6, which is what they tell me. He makes things happen back there.
He won a lot of football games at the end of the game. It may be Boise, Idaho but you still have to win games. I saw him take his team 80 yards at the end of games. He was making plays with either his legs or throwing it to win football games. I was very impressed when I watched him and talked to him and watched him play basketball. I was totally convinced that he was the guy. We were fortunate to get him to change his commitment and come here.
I told him upfront, you¹re going to be compared to one guy from [Arizona State] when you come here. Just be ready for that. He has no fear. If he can become as good as Jake [Plummer] we¹re in pretty good shape. Obviously Jake was his idol growing up."
Taylor Kelly on ASU: "(New offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone) has a lot of energy and knows exactly what he's talking about," Kelly stated. "He really knows the game. The offense that he's gonna to run is shotgun formation with zone read, four and five wide receivers, empty backfield, passing the ball a lot…it is the type of offense that I ran in high school and it really suits my skills. It's an offense that can put a lot of defenses in a bind."
Recruiting Battles: Kelly originally committed to Nevada.
Early Expectations for 2010: With Brock Osweiler and Samson Szakacsy returning from last year's active roster and Steven Threet available for duty after sitting out in 2009, there is no need to prematurely thrust Kelly into action. Barring substantial injury issues, Kelly will use the 2010 season to develop physically and athletically and guide the Sun Devil scout team before entering live duty in 2011.
Deantre Lewis (Norco, CA/Norco HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: Without a doubt, Lewis is acclaimed to be the most talented offensive high school player to sign with the Devils on Wednesday, and though ASU got an early commit from him, the staff needed to fend off attempts by schools such as Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and USC to retain Lewis' allegiance.
An explosive home run threat, the 5-10, 189-pound Lewis enjoyed a sensational senior season at Norco, totaling 2,383 yards on 237 carries (10.1 avg.) with 31 touchdowns and ran for 4,669 yards and 58 touchdowns during his prep career.
Listed by Scout.com as a four-star player, the No. 260 overall prospect and the No. 22 running back recruit in the country, Lewis has recorded a 40-yard dash as fast as 4.37-seconds, and has limitless potential in the Sun Devil backfield.
Coach Erickson on Lewis: "Deantre Lewis, to me, is one of the better guys I've been around. If you watch him on tape, this guy is explosive and he can run. We don¹t have anyone quite like him at the running back position. I think he has run a 10.6-10.7 [100 yard dash]. Which is pretty good. He can explode. He gives us that breakaway speed on offense that I was talking about."
Deantre Lewis on ASU: "Arizona State was a place I always wanted to be. I know a lot about the program and they've done some pretty good stuff with their running backs. I like the way they use their running backs and the way they run the ball and their style. I love their facilities, and the climate is great. Academically, I like it a lot and the coaches, I love. It's a program that is becoming big in the next couple of years"
Recruiting Battles: Give ASU a ton of credit for recognizing Lewis' talent from a very early stage, as he committed to the Sun Devils in May of 2009 before a breakout senior year that drew the attention of virtually every Pac-10 team. Oregon, Oregon State and Wyoming had extended offers prior to his commitment to ASU, while UCLA and USC attempted to change Lewis' mind at later stages in the recruiting process. Though a handful of occasions emerged that had Sun Devil fans holding their collective breath, Lewis refused to de-commit or visit other schools and held true to his initial verbal pledge throughout the entire season.
Early Expectations for 2010: Of all the high school prospects that faxed National Letters of Intent to ASU on Wednesday, Lewis figures to have the greatest immediate potential to contribute in 2010. With Dimitri Nance, Shaun DeWitty and Jarrell Woods exhausting their eligibility last year and Ryan Bass relocating to the University of Idaho, there are several holes to fill at running back and based on pure talent alone, Lewis stands a strong chance to work his way to the upper part of the depth chart. Though sophomore Cameron Marshall is the expected starter for 2010 and will see ample first-string reps in the spring, Lewis has the skill set to emerge beyond players such as James Morrison, Jamal Miles and Marcus Washington upon his arrival in the fall.
Taylor Walstad (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: The first commitment on ASU's 2010 list, Walstad never gave another university the time of day and remained a Sun Devil for nearly a year from when he gave his verbal pledge until he provided his NLI signature. A power runner from a very solid local program, the 5-11, 210-pound Walstad missed time due to injury as a senior but still racked up 468 yards in 2009 and will enter fall camp at full health.
The No. 51 running back recruit in the nation and the top player at his position in the state of Arizona according to Scout.com, acquiring Walstad not only benefits the Devils with the immediate services he provides, but also the connection to an up-and-coming Chandler program that features quarterback Brett Hundley, likely to be one of the top in-state recruits in 2011.
On the field, Walstad is a fearless and tough ballcarrier that has a bright future in maroon and gold.
Coach Erickson on Walstad: "Unfortunately for Taylor, he was injured for a lot of the season. When we had them at camp we thought he was one of the better prospects in this area."
Taylor Walstad on ASU: "I am very impressed with ASU, Coach Erickson and their commitment to winning and education. Playing for the Devils is a dream come true for me"
Recruiting Battles: A lifelong Sun Devil fan, Walstad pounced on the opportunity to commit to ASU when offered in February of 2009 and pulled the plug on his recruitment for good roughly a year before he was able to sign. Louisville and Northern Arizona offered Walstad throughout that time but no consideration was given to sway from the maroon and gold.
Early Expectations for 2009: Walstad likely is not quite as prepared to immediately contribute as fellow running back signee Deantre Lewis, however the tremendous lack of experienced depth at running back may provide him an opportunity to avoid redshirting in 2010. His running style differs from those of Lewis and Cameron Marshall, so there could be a legitimate spot for him in the depth chart, especially if Jamal Miles, James Morrison and Marcus Washington are unable to create a tremendous impact during spring drills.
Damien Williams (San Diego, Calif./Mira Mesa HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: Though minimally recruited on a national or even regional scale, Williams was one of the top performers in the state of California as a senior, rushing for 2,287 yards and 24 touchdowns while adding 39 tackles and two interceptions on the defensive side.
Listed as an all-purpose athlete without a true position to call home for the college level, the 6-0, 205-pound Williams has the size and the versatility to thrive either in the offensive backfield or the defensive secondary.
Running backs coach Bryce Erickson is credited with finding this potential diamond-in-the-rough and the upside and potential for Williams are likely beyond the traditional expectation level for a player ranked No. 104 at the running back position by Scout.com.
Coach Erickson on Williams: "He is a good running back but I think he is really going to be a good corner. He is 195 pounds. He is a big, physical corner and I really think he is going to be a good athlete out of San Diego."
Damien Williams on ASU: "I loved everything about this visit. Especially the people. Everyone I met, the players, the coaches were so welcoming. I have a great relationship with Coach Bryce (Erickson). I didn't want to go a team where people don't get along. I wanted to go to a place where you can tell everyone likes each other and that's how I felt on the visit. The campus, the facilities were all beautiful. I really liked the freshmen dorms and how close they are to the practice field and the stadium."
Recruiting Battles: Largely due to academics, schools shied away from pursuing Williams. San Diego State is listed as having been interested in him; however no formal offer was reported. Williams visited ASU in mid-December and committed shortly thereafter.
Early Expectations for 2010: The last National Letter of Intent to arrive into the Sun Devil football offices on Wednesday, Williams' immediate future at ASU is as unclear as any member of the 2010 class. Williams may have a challenging time meeting academic qualifications to attend ASU in the fall, which may delay his enrollment one to two years depending on what work must be done.
When he makes his way to campus, Williams provides the coaches with the luxury of a player that can excel at running back, cornerback and on special teams.
Kevin Anderson (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: A highly productive receiver for one of the state of California's most talented squads, Anderson hauled in 115 catches for 1,922 yards and 29 touchdowns during his three-year tenure at Lakewood High including 45 receptions for 836 yards and 10 scores as a senior as one of USC-bound quarterback Jesse Scroggins' top targets.
A speedy, experienced receiver, Anderson received a moderate evaluation by Scout.com, ranked as the No. 117 wide receiver prospect in the country despite his consistent performance level and offers from BYU, LSU, Washington and Washington State in addition to ASU's.
Coach Erickson on Anderson: "Kevin Anderson is a wide receiver out of Lakewood, Calif. He is one of the better receivers out of the state of California. He has great speed. He ran a 10.6 [100 meters] in high school. He has great feet. He has a chance to come in a play for us early."
Kevin Anderson on ASU: "I felt more comfortable at Arizona State than I did other schools and I just saw myself playing there. I was very comfortable early on with their recruiting. All the coaches made it feel like home when I visited there. It was just a good fit."
Recruiting Battles: When Anderson earned a scholarship offer from LSU, many observers thought he might venture to the southeast for his college career, while both Washington schools also competed with ASU to gain his services. In the end, it was the closest geographic option, the Sun Devils that emerged victorious.
Early Expectations for 2010: On the surface, few would think that a player rated in the 100s at his position would have a chance to make an early impact, but Anderson may have the talent level to contribute quickly. With recent inconsistency at wide receiver and the departure of two starters from 2009, opportunities are there for the taking at receiver for the Sun Devils and incoming true freshmen, including Anderson, will have a chance to fill a void in a speedy fashion.
George Bell (San Diego, Calif./Southwestern CC)
Signing Day Evaluation: A top-notch junior college recruit, Bell was only one of four junior college wide receivers to earn a four-star rating by Scout.com. Bell originally signed with Southern Oregon out of San Diego Senior High School but opted to go the JUCO route in hopes of earning an FBS opportunity and that decision has, thus far, paid substantial dividends.
Bell erupted onto the national recruiting scene after catching 80 passes for 1,263 yards with 12 touchdowns as a freshman in 2008, statistics which all rank second-best on the single-season lists at Southwestern College. Though his productivity dipped to 54 catches for 805 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore in 2009 primarily due to team inexperience, Bell has massive potential to thrive in the Sun Devil offense.
Coach Erickson on Bell: "I really believe he has a chance to be special. He has great speed. He has great feet. We are very fortunate to get him. He's got good height. He is a guy who can really help us as far as getting the ball deep."
George Bell on ASU: "I have a great relationship with (the coaching staff). When I talk to them I don't feel like I'm talking to coaches. I feel like I'm talking to people that I've known for a long time. My mom told me that this was the best place for me."
Recruiting Battles: Deservedly so, Bell had multiple offers from BCS schools including Colorado, Kentucky and Nebraska and likely could have had many more had he withheld his commitment. Luckily for the Sun Devils, Bell became enamored with ASU during a summer visit and concluded his recruitment with a verbal commit from which he never swayed.
Early Expectations for 2010: Whether the starting quarterback for ASU is Brock Osweiler, Samson Szakacsy or Steven Threet, Bell has the skill set to be a frequent target for ASU passers. In spring drills, Bell will likely be featured within the top four receivers joining returning letter winners Gerell Robinson and Kerry Taylor, as well as former Oregon transfer Aaron Pflugrad who will be eligible for field duty in 2010 after sitting out last season.
Bell is strongly considered to be one of the more capable immediate contributors of the 2010 class and will have an early opportunity to showcase his skills when spring drills begin. The opportunity as a midyear transfer is priceless for Bell, as in the fall junior T.J. Simpson will likely be healthy enough to return to action and three of Bell's signing classmates will join the squad to compete at wide receiver.
Randy Knust (The Highlands, Texas/The Highlands HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: A pure pass catcher with solid size and speed, Knust flew way under the recruiting radar as the Sun Devils merely had to overcome the attempts of SMU to gain his services. Knust emerged as a big play threat for The Highlands, catching 33 passes for 806 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior after averaging 30.3 yards-per-catch on 15 receptions as a junior.
Rated the No. 130 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com, Knust has registered a 4.41 40-yard dash time and has posted a 35-inch vertical leap at training sessions in the past.
Coach Erickson on Knust: "Randy Knust is wide receiver out of The Woodlands, Texas. He is obviously from a great football state. He can run. He makes plays. We really liked him. He has good size and catches everything. We're excited about him."
Randy Knust on ASU: "The coaches are what I liked the most about the visit. I know (they) can make me a better wide receiver, because they have coached guys like Terrell Owens, Jerry Rice and Chad Johnson. During my visit, I really could see myself playing there."
Recruiting Battles: An early commit to ASU—making his pledge known in early June—Knust was greatly under-recruited even in his home state, earning offers only from SMU and FCS program Stephen F. Austin.
Early Expectations for 2010: Many observers have pointed out the aesthetic similarities between Knust and recently departed Sun Devil reception machine Chris McGaha, and on film Knust truly appears to have the necessary traits to become a reliable receiver in the Sun Devil offense.
Much like signing classmate Kevin Anderson, Knust may have the opportunity to contribute quickly if he can excel out of the gate upon his fall arrival to campus. Knust capitalized on every opportunity he had at the high school level, as indicated by his incredible yards-per-catch average, and his physical traits and game day techniques make him a prospect with intriguing upside for the Devils.
Kyle Middlebrooks (Fountain Valley, Calif./Fountain Valley HS) Signing Day Evaluation: One of the fastest student-athletes in the state of California, the 5-9, 176-pound Middlebrooks and his sub-4.4 40-yard speed signed with the Devils on Wednesday and will bring ASU a speedy, multi-purpose scoring threat in the mold of a Rudy Burgess or a Jamal Miles.
Middlebrooks was primarily featured at running back during his prep career, totaling 3,063 career rushing yards with 42 touchdowns in addition to 41 catches for 556 yards with five scores; however his collegiate career likely will be spent as a slot receiver.
Ranked by Scout.com as the No. 105 running back prospect in the nation, Middlebrooks is the type of athletes that inspires coaching creativity as the objective simply must be to put the ball in his hands and let his explosiveness and raw speed take over.
Coach Erickson on Middlebrooks: "Kyle Middlebrooks is another player like (Deantre) Lewis. He is a guy who can play back there [in the running back position] and he can play in the slot. He can play a lot of different places. He is true speed. He a guy that I believe ran a 10.4. He can fly. He is going to be involved in our track program. A lot of those guys say they can but when the track coaches say so, you know they can fly. If you run on this track team you have to be pretty darn fast. He is a great athlete. You can do a lot of different things with him as a receiver."
Kyle Middlebrooks on ASU: "I really liked my visit to Arizona State and I connected with the players right away. I liked the coaches and everything else about the school and I could see myself playing there. So, when I sat down with my family and talked about it, we decided that Arizona State is where I want to commit to."
Recruiting Battles: After taking official visits to ASU, Arizona, Utah and Washington, Middlebrooks narrowed his choices to in-state rivals ASU and Arizona. Affected by the departure of former Wildcat offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes to Louisiana Tech, Middlebrooks picked ASU in late January.
Early Expectations for 2010: With the graduation of Kyle Williams and the expected relocation of Jamal Miles from receiver to running back, there could be a window open for a speedy, agile athlete at slot receiver in the offensive lineup.
When Middlebrooks begins practice in August he will likely compete with the likes of similarly-sized A.J. Pickens and Aaron Pflugrad as the quicker, explosive options in the passing game. Depending on how many of ASU's underclass wide receivers perform in the preseason, the coaches may be looking for an extra offensive burst that Middlebrooks could be called upon to provide.
Mike Willie (Long Beach, Calif./Cerritos College)
Signing Day Evaluation: A large, physical multi-faceted receiver, Willie provides the Sun Devil offense with a hard-nosed, gritty player with the ability to make a difference in many ways at ASU.
After catching for 39 passes for 760 yards and two touchdowns in 2009, the three-star prospect that originally prepped at Long Beach Woodrow Wilson High School will bring his 6-4, 215-pound frame to Tempe in the fall to compete for immediate duty.
Coach Erickson on Willie: "He is another wide receiver that we talked about out of junior college. We think he can help us get a lot better at a couple things we're doing. He'll be here in the fall. When you watch him play, he reminds me a lot of T. J. Houshmandzadeh. Both came from Cerritos Junior College. Very similar, the coaches there compare him to T.J. which is good enough for me."
Mike Willie on ASU: "It feels good, like a new beginning. When I sat down with my family, we saw that Arizona State was a really good school and they're just adding pieces to the puzzle. So I'm just a little piece over there. Arizona State is where I feel the most comfortable."
Recruiting Battles: Willie committed to ASU not long after his early December visit to Tempe—his only official visit—and did not put great consideration into competing offers from Arizona, San Diego State and Washington.
Early Expectations for 2010: It is safe to say that when fall camp rolls around, the competition at wide receiver will heat up comparably to the triple-digit Tempe temperatures, as ASU will feature double-digit scholarship players at the position.
A basic concept in college recruiting is that junior college prospects are invariably brought in to address immediate needs, and the size and physicality of Willie make him able and expected to merge into the upper half of the Devils' wide receiver depth chart.
Josh Fulton (Phoenix, Ariz./St. Mary's HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: Unquestioned as the top tight end in the state of Arizona, the 6-5, 235-pounder was rated by Scout.com as the No. 16 prospect at his position. After rescinding his initial pledge to ASU, Fulton returned to the Sun Devils' commitment list before long and is the only tight end addition from the 2010 class.
Fulton submitted an excellent season on offense and defense as a junior in 2008, catching 26 passes for 304 yards with six touchdowns in addition to 27 tackles and 10 sacks at defensive end, but was injured during part of his senior season which limited his productivity in his final year at St. Mary's.
Coach Erickson on Fulton: "Josh Fulton is from St. Mary's High School. He is a tight end who can really run. He is very athletic."
Recruiting Battles: Fulton's recruitment was a little rocky in the early stages, as after an early April commitment, he rescinded that pledge a month later to evaluate his options. Schools such as Boise State, California, Colorado, Colorado State and Washington all offered from that point, however Fulton pledged once again to the Sun Devils in mid-June and remained on that track through signing day.
Early Expectations for 2010: Fulton underwent shoulder surgery one day before signing day which likely will greatly impede his immediate transition to the college level. Aside from the injury, his upside is very attractive to Sun Devil fans as he has the frame to grow bigger and stronger without sacrificing his athleticism and versatility. With the quality of Sun Devil tight ends depreciating remarkably over the past two seasons, Fulton has the offensive skill set to emerge beyond many of his peers at ASU, but that may not be evident until his redshirt freshman season in 2011.
Sil Ajawara (Rancho Margarita, Calif./Tesoro HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: The most highly-ranked high school offensive lineman to sign with ASU this year, Ajawara joins his former teammate Evan Finkenberg in the Sun Devil lineup and brings the potential to be a sturdy guard prospect for future years.
Rated as the No. 22 offensive guard prospect in the nation by Scout.com, the 6-4, 305-pounder earned all-state honors as a senior and chose ASU over a variety of competing Pac-10 scholarship offers.
Coach Erickson on Ajawara: "(He is a) kid that has great potential. He was heavily recruited by a lot of different people. He will probably end up playing offensive guard for us, could probably play tackle. He is a guy who has great potential. Probably with what we've done, we can bring him in and redshirt. We can do that with a lot of our players, instead of playing them like we have the last three years."
Sil Ajawara on ASU: "It really was about the comfort level. I felt that this is the place I really could go out and be passionate about what I'm doing, and hopefully make an impact as soon as possible. It was the right place for me."
Recruiting Battles: Ajawara officially visited ASU and Arizona and boasted offers from UCLA and Washington, but in early December he pulled the trigger in favor of the Sun Devils and never looked back.
Early Expectations for 2010: As Coach Erickson mentioned, the offensive line recruitment that he and his staff have conducted finally presents an option for players to redshirt without question, which is the best option for Ajawara at this point. With upperclassmen Chris DeArmas, Jon Hargis and Mike Marcisz among the likely top contributors at offensive guard, Ajawara is likely positioned as one of the key pieces of the future interior line at ASU.
Chris DeArmas (Miami, Fla./El Camino JC)
Signing Day Evaluation: A mature athlete that originally committed to play at South Florida five years ago, DeArmas enrolled at ASU in January after a standout career at El Camino Junior College in Torrance, Calif.
A 6-4, 275-pound weight room warrior, DeArmas earned a three-star rating from Scout.com and is one of three junior college offensive linemen that are members of the 2010 class.
Coach Erickson on DeArmas: "He went to junior college at El Camino and sat out a year because of an illness in the family. So he is a little bit older. He is a very good football player and very mature. He'll help us at guard."
Chris DeArmas on ASU: "I really like the program, they have a good head coach and they have the right tools to be one of the best teams in the Pac-10. I had a good time on the visit hanging out with my teammates and the facilities were great. I would say that just meeting and talking with Coach Erickson is something I really enjoyed."
Recruiting Battles: Florida International, Memphis, Nevada and South Florida all offered DeArmas in addition to the Sun Devils, however his only official visit was taken to Tempe and he committed to ASU shortly after.
Early Expectations for 2010: With Zach Schlink having missed all of last season, Mike Marcisz missing the vast majority of the year and Brent Good departing from the 2009 squad, there is a direct need for a contributor at guard opposite senior Jon Hargis.
Depending on Schlink's availability, DeArmas may be brought into the starting lineup at an early point and at worst, he will provide experienced depth on a line that has shown a need to prepare quality depth over the past few years.
Jamil Douglas (Cypress, Calif./Cypress HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: A high-potential tackle that saw time at tight end as a senior, Douglas switched his commitment from Utah to ASU in December and has the physical traits to be a versatile, athletic contributor at left tackle in the future.
Rated by Scout.com as the No. 65 offensive tackle in the nation, Douglas already bench presses 300 pounds, power cleans 325 and squats 475 and can be expected to greatly increase those numbers as he will likely be directed to add 20 to 30 pounds in the early years of his ASU career.
Coach Erickson on Douglas: "He is a guy that reminds me of Evan Finkenberg from last year's signing class. He played tight end. Very good athlete. He is going to end up playing offensive tackle for us as time goes on."
Jamil Douglas on ASU: "Arizona State was somewhere I could picture myself. My family was happy with the decision I made."
Recruiting Battles: Originally committed to Utah, Douglas officially visited ASU in mid-December and switched allegiance shortly thereafter. Despite additional offers from Nebraska and San Diego State, Douglas never gave reason for concern that he may de-commit from ASU prior to signing day.
Early Expectations for 2010: Similar to Finkenberg, to whom Coach Erickson compared Douglas on signing day, Douglas will greatly benefit from a year in ASU's strength program to fashion himself into a larger lineman.
Junior college transfer Brice Schwab is greatly expected to lock down the left tackle position this season with Finkenberg and sophomore Kyle Johnson behind him for 2010, but on a long term scale Douglas has the capability to emerge into a high-level starter for the Devils.
Brice Schwab (West Sunbury, Pa./Palomar College)
Signing Day Evaluation: Literally and figuratively the biggest addition to ASU's roster on signing day, Schwab virtually fell in ASU's lap when Pete Carroll left USC for the NFL, as Schwab had been committed to the Trojans since the summer. A potentially dominant 6-8, 320-pound beast, Schwab has the strength, technique and attitude to give the Sun Devils an overpowering offensive line presence that has been vacant for several years.
A four-star prospect by Scout.com and one of the most coveted junior college offensive linemen in the nation, Schwab had scholarship offers from prominent programs in every conference nationwide but found the best fit in Tempe and will immediately be called upon to add force and substance to the Sun Devil line.
Coach Erickson on Schwab: "We really think he has a chance to be one of the better players we have been around in a long time."
Brice Schwab on ASU: "I really bought into the coaching staff there, especially the OL coach (Gregg Smith). I really like the way they run things there and I want to be a part of that."
Recruiting Battles: After his January de-commitment from USC, much of the college football nation scrambled to gain Schwab's attention. Schools such as Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State and Oklahoma attempted to court the massive lineman, but in the end, after his mid-January visit to ASU, Schwab declared himself a Sun Devil.
Early Expectations for 2010: Coach Erickson's words were brief but meaningful in regards to Schwab's potential; simply put, he could one of the most important missing links that has plagued the Sun Devil offense recently.
With the departure of starting left tackle Shawn Lauvao, ASU was in dire need to acquire a top-flight replacement, as the returning options provide little experience to the position.
Schwab enrolled immediately after his commitment to ASU and will participate in spring drills where he will likely be seen on the first-team line from day one and brings all-conference caliber talents to Tempe.
Aderious Simmons (Marrero, La./El Camino JC)
Signing Day Evaluation: ‘Upside' and ‘potential' are words that are often thrown around in reference to Simmons as he brings a 6-7, 310-pound body but only two years of football experience to Tempe. Guided to El Camino JC under the loose direction of the University of Miami (Fla.), Simmons attracted attention from New Mexico, San Diego State and Utah in addition to the ASU offer he accepted.
Simmons brings one of the most unique stories to ASU that Sun Devil fans may ever hear, and despite the uncertainty whether he would honor his commitment to the maroon and gold, Simmons' background makes him an athlete that is hard not to support.
Coach Erickson on Simmons: "He came from Louisiana and was a high school basketball player. He played high school and some junior college basketball and then he ended up at El Camino Junior College. He is a legitimate 6-7, 310 (pounds). He is an athletic tackle that can pass protect. The biggest thing with him is that he has only played football for (a few) years. He is a guy that will continue to learn while he's here."
Aderious Simmons on ASU: "I'm excited and ready to go. I have worked hard to this point and I know I just have to keep working harder now and improve on everything now that I'm going to play at the next level."
Recruiting Battles: The time between Simmons' December verbal commitment and signing day was far from smooth, as on multiple occasions it was reported that he had downgraded to a "soft" verbal status, remaining interested in schools such as San Diego State, Utah and a late intrigue in New Mexico.
Early Expectations for 2010: With the spring arrival of Brice Schwab, the coaches will be allowed some creativity in how Simmons is used in the fall. Both players can play either tackle position, and a likely situation includes Simmons battling junior Matt Hustad – still recovering from last year's late-season injury – for action at right tackle.
The onus of responsibility dually lies on the side of the coaching staff as well as Simmons, as he has only two years to play two at ASU and must use his physical attributes and overall diligence and determination to overcome learning curves presented by his inexperience. The main question concerning Simmons is how his potential can be actualized in two short years; an achievement that can be made with effective work and development.
Tyler Sulka (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame HS)
Signing Day Evaluation: A solid right tackle prospect from one of California's top teams, Sulka didn't attract a tremendous amount of recruiting attention but will have the time to develop in practice before being called into duty at ASU.
Ranked as the No. 117 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com, the 6-5, 270-pounder brings power to the lineup with weight room figures of a 285-pound bench press, 308-pound power clean and 500-pound squat.
Coach Erickson on Sulka: "We like him a lot. We look at his upside. As I said, we are able to with the young offensive linemen, we can go ahead and redshirt them and bring them through the program."
Tyler Sulka on ASU: "(Associate Athletic Director) Jean (Boyd) who handles the academics does a great job and is on top of everything. Meeting with him was probably my favorite part of the visit…I really like what I saw (on the official visit to ASU). I knew it was perfect fit for me."
Recruiting Battles: Sulka reported offers from San Diego State and UNLV, however he took his only official visit to ASU.
Early Expectations for 2010: Virtually a surefire redshirt, Sulka will spend 2010 developing and learning, and will eventually compete with the likes of Matt Hustad, Aderious Simmons and Patrick Jamison for action at right tackle.