The Backstory: Last month, Arizona State picked up an important recruit for the class of 2014 in wide receiver Tyler Whiley. With a four-star ranking, Whiley is among the best wide receivers in the country, but more importantly for the Sun Devil football program, Whiley hails from Chaparral High School.
Todd Graham has preached the importance of keeping the top high school talent in the state, and Whiley certainly ranks among the best. Whiley hopes to follow in the footsteps of another local product, and the man who takes our honors at No. 13. Chris McGaha attended Moon Valley High School, and though he may not be the most famous alumnus from that school (That honor is reserved for Brad Denny), he did "stay true to ASU" and become one of the most prolific receivers in Sun Devil history.
If Whiley comes close to matching what McGaha accomplished on the football field, he'll have created quite a legacy for himself.
The Player: Chris McGaha (2005-2009)
After compiling record numbers as a receiver at Moon Valley High School, highly touted wide receiver prospect Chris McGaha found himself on plenty of national recruiting lists. McGaha earned Player of the Year honors from the Arizona Republic, but that turned out to be just the start of the recognition he received.
Upon arriving on campus, McGaha redshirted his freshman year, but he rarely missed time on the field after that. A durable and strong receiver at 6-foot-1, McGaha became a go-to threat his freshman year and started the final five games of the season. Sporting News awarded McGaha with Pac-10 All Freshman honors, but he still took a backseat to his fellow receivers.
As a sophomore, McGaha emerged as the Sun Devils' top receiver. His 61 catches and 830 yards led Arizona State in both categories, and he became an Honorable Mention All Pac-10 receiver. McGaha's breakout effort came against UCLA, as he caught nine passes for 123 yards.
During his junior season, defenses caught on to McGaha, and his production dropped to just 35 catches and 501 yards. Despite the less than stellar numbers, McGaha still finished second on the team in receptions and yards.
McGaha returned to form during his senior season and became one of the top receivers in the entire Pac-10 conference. His 56 catches and 673 yards nearly matched career highs, and his four touchdown receptions set his personal best. McGaha earned Second Team All Pac-10 honors, and also took his place in the Arizona State record books as his reception and yardage totals are each among the top 10 in school history.
Sun Devil fans will always have fond memories of McGaha, and they hope that Chaparral product Tyler Whiley will aspire to match McGaha's greatness.
Mitchell Freedman: Freedman played free safety for the Sun Devils in the late 1990s, and he was among the most productive members of the Arizona State defense. Freedman made an appearance on three different All Pac-10 lists, including the First Team list in 1997.
Ken Talanoa: The heart of the defensive line and a team captain, Talanoa was one of Arizona State's best leaders in the early 1990s.