June 18, 2007

2008 Sun Devil offensive recruiting breakdown

Arizona State is expected to sign a larger than average haul of recruits in the 2008 class, perhaps in excess of 25 prospects. Here is a look at how each offensive position group breaks down with the current scholarship players, how many newcomers can be expected, and who some of the top recruiting targets are.

Quarterback

Scholarship Players: Rudy Carpenter, Danny Sullivan, Samson Szakacsy, Chasen Stangel

All four of the above quarterbacks are expected to return to the program for at least one more year following the upcoming 2007 season. Assuming that remains to be the case through the fall, our expectation is that the Sun Devils will sign just one quarterback in the 2008 class, bringing the total to five on the roster next year. After adding Szakacsy and Stangel in last year's class -- which was no doubt a great haul -- and with all four players likely to be with the program for another two years, this is not the a position group that is as desperately in need of a talent infusion as it was when coach Dennis Erickson was hired. But it is the quarterback position, which is volatile by nature and more subject to transfer than other positions. As such, this projection could change at some point.

Top 2008 target: Sean Renfree

Running Back

Scholarship Players: Ryan Torain, Dimitri Nance, Keegan Herring, Jarrell Woods, Shaun Dewitty, Preston Jones

This is the deepest and most talented group of running backs that Arizona State has had in a decade. It's not a particularly young group however, with Torain and Jones rising seniors and Hering and Dewitty rising juniors. Additionally, the 2007 recruiting class was unusual in that the program did not add a running back out of the high school ranks. We know that Erickson has a great affinity for running backs and would ideally like five very capable players at the position in any given season. With Dewitty's health concerns making him somewhat of an unknown, we would anticipate the Sun Devils signing two players to the position, at least one of which will be a prep player.

Some top 2008 targets: Covaughn DeBoskie, Ray Polk, Jamal Womble, Mike Harris, Richard Watson, Erin Madden

Wide Receivers

Scholarship players: Rudy Burgess, Mike Jones, Nate Kimbrough, Brandon Smith, Chris McGaha, Kyle Williams, Rodney Glass, Tyrice Thompson (hybrid WR/TE) T.J. Simpson, Kerry Taylor

The Sun Devils lost Terry Richardson and Jamaal Lewis from last year's team, but added Simpson and Taylor to keep the filled scholarship spots static. Ideally the staff would seemingly like to have about 10 scholarship receivers on the roster, give or take one. Last season, the position was largely ineffective, but younger players like Smith, Williams and McGaha have shown substantial promise. Add in the two true freshmen and it will be a young group, with just Burgess and Thompson as seniors. Therefore, we would estimate that ASU attempt to maintain the status quo of the position group in terms of scholarship numbers, and add two (three at a maximum) newcomers in the 2008 class.

Some top 2008 targets: Brice Butler, Charles Germany, Allante Battle, Marvin Jones, T.J. Lawrence, Malcolm Johnson, Carl Moore, Sedrick Jonson, Raevon Samuel, Jarrett Sparks, Nelson Rosario

Tight Ends

Scholarship players: Brent Miller, Dane Guthrie, Brady Conrad, Jovon Williams, Lance Evbuomwan, Thompson, Dan Knapp

Erickson will at times use double tight end formations, much in the way that the previous staff did, so there will not be a decreased reliance on the position group of the number of scholarship players needed to satisfy what the team is hoping to accomplish. Miller, Conrad and Thompson are each heading into their final year of eligibility, while Guthrie will be a junior. This reality, plus the somewhat uncertain depth at the position group make it a very high priority in 2008 recruiting and we can formulate a strong opinion that ASU would like to sign at least two prospects here. They have already landed one, the school's first commitment in the class, Steven Figueroa out of Desert Vista High School, which produced Brent and Zach Miller.

Some top 2008 targets: Figueroa (committed), Blake Ayles, Dion Jordan, Ryan Deehan

Offensive Line

Scholarship players: Mike Pollak, Brandon Rodd, Zach Krula, Robert Gustavis, Paul Fanaika, Julius Orieukwu, Thomas Altieri, Richard Tuitu'u, Shawn Lauvao, Adam Tello, Garth Gerhart, Po'u Palelei, Matt Hustad, Michael Marcisz

The new ASU staff filled a critical need in the 2007 recruiting class when it signed five highly regarded offensive line prospects to a unit that would have otherwise been significantly undermanned (at least in number). Still, that pressure will continue for at least another recruiting cycle, as Pollak, Rodd, Krula, Orieukwu and Gustavis are all rising seniors who must be replaced. A typical staff ideally likes to have 13-15 scholarship offensive linemen on the roster. To stay in that range, ASU will likely have to add at least four and possibly five offensive linemen in the 2008 class. We would expect at least one or two of these prospects to be of the JUCO variety, otherwise there will be no fewer than eight or nine redshirt and true freshmen making up this position group in the 2008 season. How ASU manages this situation in the next year will be of critical importance to the success of the program in the near future.

Some top 2008 targets: Zach Schlink, Patrick Jamison, Kyle Johnson, Ryan Dannewitz, Allen Carroll, Andrew Sampson, Alec Johnson


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