How Christian Westerman took advantage of year off at ASU

If you are familiar with football in Arizona, you most likely knew the level of football player Christian Westerman was at Hamilton High School.

One of the toughest competitors and most dominant offensive lineman the great Hamilton program has seen. By the time was all said and done for his high school career, he had up to 70 college offers and ultimately signed to play for the then defending National Champion Auburn Tigers.

Things did not exactly go as planned for Westerman during his time in Alabama so he decided to transfer back to his home town and play for Arizona State. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he was forced to sit one season and spent the last year as a member of the Sun Devil scout team. An situation that a competitor like Westerman had not dealt with before in his football career.

“For me it actually went by pretty fast,” Westerman said. “The team was doing well and we were having a lot of fun. Although I couldn’t play, I actually got to perfect a lot of my techniques with Coach (Chris) Thomsen and I got to learn the scheme, the plays a lot better. Now it’s like I got all my knowledge and I am ready to go. I’ve got my suitcase filled.”

That type of attitude is exactly what has his head coach, Todd Graham, ecstatic about the player he has in Westerman. Someone whose been the star and best player everywhere he’s been, taking a backseat to better himself for the sake of the team and his future.

“I’m sure it was really hard,” Graham said. “This is a guy who was the top guy in the state coming out in 2011. Having to sit out after his transfer is probably something he wouldn’t recommend. But to end up here, we think he has made a great choice and we think he is going to very impactful for us.”

“I can tell the hunger he has and the hunger he has to get out there and compete,” Graham added. “I think it was great for him and his development. He lined up in front of Will Sutton every day in practice. And Will would tell you that it made him better because it was every day. No days off.”

Going up against the two-time Pac-12 Defensive player of the year every day in practice had to seem like a workload equivalent to a full season in itself. But it was an opportunity that Westerman cherished.

“It was awesome,” Westerman mentioned. “A guy like Will Sutton. The guy just left the NFL Combine. That’s a pretty big thing when you get to go up against a guy like that every day for the whole season. It definitely got me better and I’m sure I got him better as well.”

This winter, Westerman has cemented himself as one of the strongest members of the Sun Devils. A few months back, ASU’s Head Coach of Sports Performance, Shawn Griswald was having the players do max reps on the bench press. Westerman had to be stopped once he got above 450 pounds. A player that big and that strong is a very scary thought.

“Coach Gris has been getting us really strong,” he explained. “It was a short winter but I think every one gained a ton of weight on all their lifts. I think it has definitely affected us on the field. The offensive line is driving guys off the line, the defensive line has gotten so much stronger you can tell by just driving them. Overall I think our team has gotten so much stronger.”

As ASU participates in spring practice, Westerman is no longer with the members of the scout team. He is working in and out of the first and second team offenses at the guard position working to crack that starting lineup once the fall rolls around.

“Offensive lineman are always trying to be perfectionists,” Westerman mentioned. “I am just trying to be perfect in everything I do whether that’s just knowing the plays, executing the plays, and I just like driving guys off the ball and throwing them on the ground.”