There was a buzz in Tempe on Wednesday, as Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham announced the 27 newest athletes the program has signed for the 2013 season.
The list of 27 prospects breaks down like this: 16 defensive specialists, 10 offense specialist, and one special teams player. Four of the players, LB Chans Cox, DL Kisima Jagne, TE Grant Martinez, and OL Christian Westerman are from Arizona.
The Sun Devils are due to graduate 16 players on defense after the upcoming season, so for Graham, it was paramount to supplement those players, hence the 16 defensive players in the 2013 class.
“We got the right guys, and we’re excited to stack that and develop depth on the defensive line,” Graham said.
The defense was also bolstered by the addition of six defensive backs, including Damarious Randall who attended Mesa Community College in 2012. Randall had 69 tackles, nine interceptions, and was named ACCAC Defensive Player of the Year.
All six are well built and will be ready for some press coverage in defensive coordinator Paul Randolph’s system.
“I want guys that are long, that can put their hands on people,” Graham said. “We play a lot of matchup coverage and we like to press a lot with our corners, and we wanted guys that are playmakers.”
“I really felt that the secondary was real important and I really think we met our needs there,” Graham said.
Oddly enough, no quarterbacks or running backs were taken in this year’s class. Graham said that he is confident with the core group of players they already have at those positions. “We’re sitting great with the three young men we have” (Taylor Kelly, Michael Eubank, Mike Bercovici).
Don’t rule out the possibility of a quarterback before the season, Graham said they may look to add another this spring or during the next recruiting cycle. “Quarterbacks look at those depth charts, and obviously having three is gonna attract a great one,” Graham said. He says Arizona State will always stick with 3-4 quarterbacks, because they “want to recruit the best.”
“Obviously that was something we didn’t plan for,” Graham said when talking about the absences of both positions in the class. “Recruiting happens like that sometimes. All we can do is do things the right way.”
Graham said they have two players in this class, WR Ronald Lewis and TE De’Marieya Nelson, that could shift over and man the running back position if need be.
“Running back’s a position that we feel has great depth right now,” Graham said. “Adding those two guys that can do that as well, we think that we’re sitting good in that position.”
Throughout the afternoon, Graham mentioned the word “character” when referring to his recruits and his current players. That kind of player is what Graham and his coaching staff is in constant search for. Sometimes they nail a few of them, and sometimes they lose out on a few of them.
Like Graham said, it’s part of the process.
“I’m looking for young men that fit our program, have a burning desire to succeed and embrace what we’re all about,” Graham said. “This place is unique, we’re different in how we go about doing things.”