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ASU Football: Sun Devils utilize JUCO talent to fill vital needs

In the 2016 recruiting cycle, Todd Graham was able to find JUCO talent for the positions that needed it the most.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to take a poll of Sun Devil fans last season for which positions were most in-need of talent that could make an impact right away, with JUCO recruits, it would be safe to assume that the offensive line, pass rushing linebackers/defensive line, and the secondary would be heavily mentioned. The wide receiver position would probably also be in the mix, but Todd Graham handled that with the signing of N'keal Harry.

Graham, in the past, has found JUCO players to come in and be stopgaps for positions that were going to be losing premier talent. Last year, he brought in Tim White and Devin Lucien (graduate transfer, I know, but same concept). In the past, he was able to bring in guys like Marcus Hardison, Damarious Randall, Jaelen Strong, and Antonio Longino.

This year's class of JUCO talent looks to be almost on par with that 2013 JUCO class that included Hardison, Randall, Strong, and Longino.

The 2016 class includes, according to ESPN, two four-star defensive ends (Christian Hill and Dougladson Subtyl), two four-star cornerbacks(Maurice Chandler and J'Marcus Rhodes), two three-star offensive linemen (Tyson Rising and A.J. McCollum), a three-star outside linebacker (Koron Crump), and a three-star punter (Michael Sleep-Dalton).

That doesn't look too bad and it looks even better with the recent coaching changes on Graham staff.

A majority of these recruits will have a strong chance to make an impact right away, especially as ASU fans recall from the Cactus Bowl, the defensive backs Chandler and Rhodes.

Graham, when talking about the two corners, raved about the size and athleticism they will bring to the Sun Devil secondary, "he (Chandler) comes from a great family and a guy that you look at his size, the size and speed that we added there at the corner position as well as a guy that's a veteran player and ready to come in and play. An All-American junior college corner and a guy that we think is going to be very impactful for us, already on campus."

Continuing to Rhodes, Graham said, "you can see the same height, length, these guys got great length."

Rising and McCollum, with the departures of several starters from the offensive line, will also have a chance to start next season.

"We think, obviously when you sign a guy from junior college coming in here on the offensive line we expect them to come in and be impactful for us," Graham said when talking about Rising. McCollum, undoubtedly, will be looked upon to start at center with the departure of Nick Kelly.

The last time that Graham signed a JUCO class with this much talent, the team went 10-3, although that team didn't have to adjust to as many coaching changes and a brand new quarterback at the helm.

That being said, it's undeniable that Graham filled positions desperate for an injection of talent with high-rated JUCO prospects this year and that's something for Sun Devil fans to certainly be pleased about with this 2016 class.