By Kaelen Jones (@kaelenjones)
Momentum is real, and on the recruiting trail, developing it down the stretch is key to building a strong class. Both the Arizona State Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats have been experiencing recruiting momentum as of late — each for different reasons.
Wildcats’ class loses ground
Arizona entered the 2016 regular season with 23 total pledges in its pocket, reaching 27 at one point. That total has slimmed to 24 since December, and could be on its way to hemorrhaging a bit more.
On Wednesday, Arizona lost the commitment of Mater Dei (Calif.) defensive tackle Austin Faoliu.
— Austin Faoliu (@Faoliu_10) January 11, 2017
His recant follows that of several other commits who have had a change of heart within the last month, including consensus four-star athlete Greg Johnson, wide receiver Darrian McNeal, linebacker Delshawn Phillips, defensive tackle Matt Leo, and defensive end Bryce Brand.
The Wildcats have secured JUCO defensive tackle Sione Taufahema, along with linebackers Jose Ramirez and Colin Schooler since the regular season’s conclusion, however the losses may continue to pile on for Rich Rodriguez’s program.
Four-star quarterback prospect Braxton Burmeister, who committed to Arizona in May, did not report to campus as an early enrollee after he received an offer from Oregon. The situation is at a standstill, as Burmeister’s decision has become unclear.
Presently, Arizona’s recruiting class remains in relatively good standing amongst popular scouting services. Rivals ranks the Wildcats’ 2017 signing class 21st nationally; Scout ranks the class 26th; 247 Sports and ESPN each list it 33rd.
Sun Devils add one five-star, three four-stars
ASU has been rolling in recent weeks, collecting a handful of commitments over the course of the winter break after remaining quiet during the regular season.
The run of good fortune started with the signing of former five-star Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett in early December.
The Sun Devils’ newest additions have included three four-star prospects in Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (Nev.) cornerback Alex Perry, Gilbert Highland (Ariz.) athlete Tyler Johnson and Wylie East High (Texas) running back Eno Benjamin.
Overall, Todd Graham’s program has made six postseason additions. Its lone hiccup occurred when coming short in adding Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (Nev.) safety Bubba Bolden, who was believed to be leaning towards choosing ASU before picking USC during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
With 13 total commitments to date, Rivals (56th) ranks ASU’s 2017 class outside of the top-50 groups nationally. Scout (44th) and 247 Sports (43rd) are the most optimistic of the Sun Devils’ class.
National Signing Day is set for Feb. 1, meaning there’s plenty of time for each program to woo targets to their respective schools, but don’t be surprised if things continue to slide one way or the other.