Several college programs have begun to express interest in James Stagg, who in turn has started looking into some potential options heading into the ever-important spring evaluation period.
The three-star defensive end from Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista holds early offers from Hawaii and Louisville, but a few other schools have established contact and the two-way talent just made stops at Arizona State, Boise State, Utah and Washington. Louisville earned the first stop and it was a big one for Stagg, who said the Cardinals are looking at him for the tight end position.
"I got out to Louisville and that was awesome," Stagg said. "I was the only Arizona player there and it was different just because I have an offer. I loved everything coach (Chris) Klenakis had to say and they use the tight end a lot, sometimes even three at a time. That was definitely something that stood out to me. Even if I didn't have the offer, it would have been a great trip for me."
Here's what the 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect had to say about each of the other trips:
ASU: "It's interesting because I actually grew up a U of A fan and I've been to every rivalry game in the past 10 years. I went in there, talked to all the coaches and actually loved it. ASU is looking at me for tight end also and a lot of their offensive coaches are new this year, and I really like what they've got to say. I think they're only going to take one tight end in 2018 so they want to look over things very carefully before they offer."
Boise State: "I really liked it there. They showed a lot of interest in me. As soon as I got on campus, it seemed like every coach was coming by to say hi. They knew who I was. When you go to colleges you just know who has already put time into you already. I stayed there for about an hour after every other visitor had left and talked to coach (Bryan) Harsin and he told me he's going to review my film and call me soon. I also talked to coach (Steve) Caldwell, the D-line coach, and they like me at their stud position, which is an outside linebacker and stand-up end role. He told me I'm up on their list."
Utah: "I talked to their recruiting coordinator to used to coach at Desert Vista and I spent most of the day with him when I was out there. I also met the tight ends coach, (Fred) Whittingham Jr. and as far as I could tell, I'm on their board and they're checking out my film. It's in the early stages with them but I was very impressed with them. All the guys I've talked to that went there just say it's an amazing experience."
Washington: "They're looking at me as the same position as Boise State, kind of a stand-up edge guy. I talked to coach (Pete) Kwiatkowski, who actually came to see me in Arizona last spring. We went around a little bit and I'd say Washington is also in the early stages. I think they're coming by in the spring to evaluate me."
"I'll probably be getting up to UCLA for their individual camp this summer," Stagg said. "I've just always liked UCLA, apart from it being so nice over there. It's obviously a good football program and a good school, so I'm looking forward to checking that out. I also hope to get out to the Arizona and ASU camps just because they're local. My defensive line coach's brother, Devon Kennard, played at USC so I'm trying to go to that, too."
Stagg was credited with 22 receptions for 338 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games as a junior last season to go along with 36 tackles on defense.