clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ASU Football: Despite some misses, Sun Devils gain traction in-state with 2016 recruiting class

Arizona State signed three hometown products in the 2016 recruiting cycle, but some big names did choose to go elsewhere.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After signing four prospects from the state of Arizona in 2015, Todd Graham and company were only able to firm up three signatures from in-state products in 2016.

Byron Murphy, a four-star cornerback from Scottsdale, ended up spurning Arizona State State for Washington. The Sun Devils also lost out on Brophy Prep defensive end Connor Murphy, who winded up staying in the Pac-12 and selecting USC.

But while Graham was unable to close on that pair of blue-chippers, he still got a trio of players from the Grand Canyon state that should have fans of the maroon and gold excited for the future.

The group is led by wide receiver N'Keal Harry, the consensus No. 1 player from the state of Arizona. Harry finished his career at Chandler High School with 119 catches and 25 touchdowns, good enough to earn a five-star rating from Rivals.

And while some big-time recruits can start to get cold feet as National Signing Day approaches, Graham told reporters at his press conference Wednesday that that was never the case for Harry.

"I called him all the time," Graham said. "Coach Lindsey and I were going, 'you okay, you okay?' I think he got tired of us asking if he was okay, because he never even thought about it. He wanted to be a Sun Devil."

Joining Harry on the roster this fall will be someone he's pretty familiar with; his high school teammate, Chandler defensive back Chase Lucas.

Lucas actually played both offense and defense while in high school but is planning on roaming the secondary while with Arizona State. The defensive back is one of the most athletic signees in this class, but the ASU coaches are even more excited about his leadership qualities.

"I love his spirit," said Graham. "They call him the CEO of the New Devils Order and he's a guy that loves his community. I think it says a lot about guys that could go anywhere but choose to stay here."

Another player that chose to stay home was offensive lineman Marshal Nathe. Coming out of Centennial High School in Peoria, Nathe was the coaching staff's first commit for the class of 2016. Graham liked that fact a lot.

"Marshal is a guy that took all of three seconds when we offered him a scholarship to accept," Graham said. "I like guys that want to be a part of what we are doing here."

With local talent that got away like Christian Kirk and Kyle Allen coming back to bite the Sun Devils in the 2015 season, the coaching staff seems to be focusing harder than ever on recruiting in their own backyard.

And while they did strike out on a couple of big names, there were more wins than losses once the dust settled on signing day.

"It is really, really nice when they come from right here in this valley," said Graham. "We ended up signing two of the top three players in the state and three of the top six."

After pausing for a moment, the Arizona State head coach laughed and added, "Of course, I would like to sign all of them."