ASU picks up their recruiting in Chandler

Arizona State University made quite a splash a couple weekends ago, offering multiple football scholarships to Chandler-based athletes. The Devils, who have been engaged for months in a billboard campaign that is urging local recruits to “stay true,” had been criticized in some circles for not offering enough scholarships for local athletes to have an opportunity to follow the advice on the billboards. In week 9 of the high school regular season, however, Todd Graham and company offered scholarships to Hamilton DE Caleb Peart (2015), Chandler RB Chase Lucas (2016), and extended a grey-shirt offer to Hamilton LB Santana Sterling (2014).

In the case of Santana Sterling, who is ranked by many to be the top linebacker in the class of 2014, the grey-shirt offer came as quite a surprise, “I had been to camps, and they had shown interest, but when I got news of the offer I hadn’t heard from them in months.” Grey-shirt status is an unofficial term used by teams who oversign beyond their 25 allowable yearly scholarships. It allows a player to pay for their own part-time education for a semester before enrolling full time with an athletic scholarship in the spring, and all 4 years of eligibility intact. “It’d be kind of cool,” said Sterling, who also has offers from NAU, Cornell and Penn. “It would allow me to get used to college, and get bigger, stronger and faster for when my time comes.”

Santana and teammate Caleb Peart were pulled out of class to learn of their offers. Arizona State becomes the third offer for Peart, as Nevada and Boise State have also recently offered the 2015 defensive end.

2016 Chandler RB Chase Lucas learned of his ASU offer from Coach Shaun Aguano after the Wolves beat Basha 49-7, a game in which Lucas scored 3 times in the second quarter alone. Lucas wasn’t even sure if he’d be on varsity this season- not only did he make varsity, he’s received attention from Oklahoma, USC, and now holds a scholarship offer from the Sun Devils. “Getting the opportunity to show my talent on varsity with, and against, great players, and now getting the recognition to do the same at the collegiate level makes me feel like all the effort and devotion I’ve given has been well worth it,” said Lucas. When asked how he felt about the Sun Devils campaign to encourage local talent to stick around, he pointed to the phrase “ASU Football: Where Arizona Stars Become Legends” as being very impactful. “There is so much talent in the state. I’m glad to see coach Graham recognizes the talent we have to offer.”

Arizona’s 2014 recruiting class is considered it’s most talented ever, but as Santana Sterling pointed out, several players who had offers before the season haven’t received additional offers since, and some, like Josh Eckley, Zach Werlinger and Mitch McCulley, have yet to receive an offer at all. “Arizona has so much talent, I know what kind of athletes Josh and Zach are. It’s shocking they haven’t gotten more attention.” With other colleges not recruiting as much as people thought they would, ASU could reap the benefits. “ASU could get a bunch of these kids, or these offers could also be what it takes to finally tip the scales and get some other colleges involved with local recruits.”

Sterling, Peart and Lucas have given no indication that they’ll be staying to play in Tempe, but all are appreciative of the attention they’ve received.