As we draw closer to the top of the 100 Day Sun Devil Countdown and the start of the 2012 season, we take a look at one of the most exciting recent moments that did not happen on a football field: D.J. Foster picks Arizona State.
For all of his shortcomings while head coach of the Sun Devils, Dennis Erickson was able to upgrade the talent level of the program. Top talents like Omar Bolden and Vontaze Burfict chose offers from elite programs like USC to come to Tempe. At the time of his termination, Erickson had laid the foundation of an impressive 2012 class that featured several elite players having already either accepted offers or had ASU amongst their finalists.
However, for all of the improvements in recruiting, ASU had posted a miserable record with local recruits. For years, Arizona's top talent left the state for major powers elsewhere, leaving the Sun Devils with a tarnished reputation in their own backyard.
With Scottsdale Saguaro four-star running back D.J. Foster targeting ASU, there was hope that this trend could begin to be reversed. But when Erickson was fired and the dark, dark cloud of uncertainty increasingly hung over the program, Foster's recruitment opened back up.
What was once a sure-fire Sun Devil commit was now being hotly pursued by several top teams. USC and Cal emerged as the serious contenders in the battle.
Foster set a press conference for January 27th, four days prior to National Letter of Intent Day. Up until that morning, no one seemed to know what he would say when he took to the microphone.
But Foster did. Earlier, his dad had text him a photo of Foster's late sister and their father...wearing an ASU shirt. His heart had always been in Tempe, and when he put on a Sun Devil hat, he ensured that he will be too...at least for the next three to four seasons.
Foster's dynamic gamebreaking ability will be a tremendous and exciting addition to the "high-octane" Sun Devil attack, but his decision could also carry significant weight off the field. Will he be the first of many Arizona high school players to opt to stay home?
Tune in next February 1st for the answer.
See the previous entries on House of Sparky's 100 day countdown here.