Arizona State has dominated the early part of signing day with a slew of incredible recruits. Though this class may not be filled with the more prominent 5 and 4-star recruits, head coach Todd Graham succeeded by signing players to fill the teams needs: Wide Receiver and Linebackers
Before the afternoon rolled around in Tempe, Graham and the rest of the coaching staff landed nearly two dozen of recruits who signed the Letter of Intent to play football for the Sun Devils.
Graham dominated the junior college scene yet again, getting commitments from two players inside Rivals top 35, including highly touted defensive lineman Marcus Hardison. Hardison is a player who can see immediate playing time alongside All-American Will Sutton and sophomore Jaxon Hood.
Some of the best recruits in this year's class are already enrolled at ASU. Two years ago, 5-star offensive line Christian Westerman decided to enroll at the University of Auburn. Over winter break, the Chandler, Arizona protégée transferred to Arizona State, giving the maroon and gold some depth in the trenches. He will have three years to play as a Sun Devil after likely having to sit out the 2013 season.
Linebacker Chans Cox committed to the Sun Devils in June and enrolled over winter break. The Lakeside, Arizona native is listed as a 4-star linebacker with tremendous speed and versatility, and should see time at Devilbacker. Coach Graham officially got his football Letter of Intent today, snubbing Arizona, Boise State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State and USC in the process.
Speaking of linebackers, Coach Graham has already received four other linebackers' Letter of Intents, including the Latu twins. Viliami is the 13th ranked MLB recruit in the country and his brother Alani is the No. 41 OLB in the 2013 recruiting class. It was important for Arizona State to stock up on linebackers largely in part to the departure of Brandon Magee. Devilbacker Carl Bradford and Steffon Martin are the two key returners, but don't be surprised if you see some of the new linebacker recruits see immediate playing time. Two other talented additions are Eriquel Florence and Antonio Longino.
The biggest early story of the day came at quarterback, where longtime ASU commit Josh Dobbs flipped his commitment and signed with Tennessee. ASU then pursued Brophy star Tyler Bruggman, but he ultimately held onto his pledge with Washignton State.
The Sun Devils signed a 3-star punter in Matt Haack, their only scholarship punter on the 2013 roster, found depth on the defensive line with Hardison, Kisima Jagne, Demetrius Cherry and Corey Smith. In the secondary, the team secured a handful of 3-star secondary athletes, including Damarious Randall, Will Early, Jayme Otomewo and James Johnson, to fill the void of Keelan Johnson and Deveron Carr. They also landed two-star cornerback Solomon Means.
But the position that will get a lot of attention is the wide receivers.
The most experienced returning wide receiver on the roster is Kevin Ozier. The rising senior hauled in 21 catches for 324 yards and five touchdowns. The Sun Devils were in desperate need of wideout talent and Graham worked his magic to bring in five 3-star athletes, including juco Jaelen Strong who could play immediately alongside Ozier. The speedy Cameron Smith should see time in the slot with newcomer Ronald Lewis, while Ellis Jefferson and Joe Morris are a pair of 6-foot-4 prospects that can contribute outside.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly loved using seniors Jamal Miles and Rashad Ross as deep threat options and Strong is capable of filling their role. The 6-foot-4 receiver not only has size, but he runs a 4.46 40 yard dash. The last 6-foot-4 wideout to play at Arizona State was Gerell Robinson. During his senior season, he caught 77 passes for 1,397 yards and seven scores. Strong could put up numbers like that with Kelly in 2013.
The action is not over, as the Sun Devils are still waiting for a few more recruits to respond, including athlete Marcus Ball and cornerback L.J. Moore. Rivals ranked Arizona State's recruiting class as the 35th-best in the nation and that number has a chance to improve later this afternoon.
Be sure to check back to hear what head coach Todd Graham has to say at the 3:30 p.m. press conference. Graham will talk about this year's recruiting class and what it means for Sun Devil football.
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