Arizona State football is riding high in the past month with a 46-7 shellacking of Washington State and a dramatic come-from-behind victory over in-state rival Arizona, 41-34 on the day after Thanksgiving. Coach Todd Graham has had a couple weeks to soak it all in and is gearing up for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29. The next big undertaking is focusing on the 2013 season by getting more commitments and getting his current commitments signed.
I wrote earlier in the week about the holes on the Sun Devils roster and I will now focus on filling those holes as well as adding much needed depth elsewhere.
Let’s start with the big news first, and I do mean big. Christian Westerman is a 6’4″, 298-lb monster that can fill an immediate need on the Sun Devil roster.
The 4-star offensive lineman signed last year with Auburn and saw action in three games this season. The Tigers had their worst season in a long time and ended with the firing of head coach Gene Chizik a mere two years removed from winning the National Championship.
Westerman held all the accolades coming out of Hamilton High School in Chandler in 2011. He was the No. 1 recruit in the state, ahead of UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, the No. 27 recruit in the country as well as the third-best at his position by Rivals.
Scout ranked him the No.1 offensive guard and 17th best overall recruit in the country.
He had offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon as well as the three in-state universities but signed with Auburn a month after visiting the campus. Here it is a year later and Westerman is coming home.
It is possible that he may even be able to play in the upcoming season if Auburn is hit with NCAA sanctions.
Staying at home once again, in the state of Arizona at least, is the 4-star linebacker from Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside, Arizona. Lakeside is a sleepy little town just over three hours northeast of Tempe and Arizona State University.
Cox committed to Arizona State on June 13 of this year and will be graduating high school at the mid-year break. Cox is ranked as the No. 3 recruit in the state, the No. 13 at his position and No. 150 nationally.
Cox received offers from Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Nebraska before deciding to stay in Arizona. Although Cox has yet to sign his letter of intent, Brad Cesmat of Pros2Preps.com says that Cox will be moving onto campus on Jan 7.
Viliami & A.J. Latu
Viliami Latu and his twin brother Alani (A.J.) committed to Arizona State in October and visited the school for the game against Washington St. on Nov. 17.
Viliami is a 4-star linebacker out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, who is currently ranked the 37th best recruit in talent-rich California and the No. 14 linebacker in the country according to Rivals. The 6’2″, 225-pound Latu is the bigger of the two and recently received his fourth star from Rivals, who had this to say about him:
“He and his brother are outstanding in the front seven for Rancho Cucamonga, but Viliami has that extra to bump him to four stars. He really puts his body on the line every play and hits hard, drives through people and plays that way on every down.”
A.J. Latu is a 3-star linebacker who ranks the 78th best recruit in California and 50th best linebacker nationally (via Rivals). A.J. is considerably smaller at 6’1″ and 205 lbs, but I’m not going to say he is small.
The Latu twins are cousins of a former Arizona State defensive lineman, Paul ‘Unga, and attended home games at Arizona State and dreamed of one day playing here themselves, so I’d say the chances of them signing their letters of intent are nearly 100 percent.
The Sun Devils received disheartening news this week about missing out on two 4-star recruits to fill out their receiving corps in Beau Sandland and Eldridge Massington. Sandland committed to Miami, (FL) and Massington switched his commitment from USC to UCLA.
Fortunately, for Arizona State, they have already received a commitment from Ronald Lewis out of West Jefferson High School outside of New Orleans, La. The 3-star recruit was the No. 26 player from Louisiana and the 56th best receiver in the nation (via Rivals). Lewis received offers from Ole Miss, Nebraska and Texas A&M prior to committing to ASU on Sept. 5.
At 6’0″ and 185 lbs., he is a good size to make an impact for coach Todd Graham and the Sun Devils. His 4.45 speed in the 40 will be a mismatch for many linebackers and safeties and his breakaway speed will make for a great replacement for Ross and Miles returning punts and kickoffs.
Filling the tight end spot is another local product in Scottsdale’s Grant Martinez, who received offers from Oregon St., Cal and Utah.
Heading into the 2012 season, there was a three-way race for the quarterback position. Coach Todd Graham went with redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly, and he has shined. There are three other quarterbacks on the roster, but it never hurts to bring on another one, especially one of Dobbs’ caliber.
The 3-star quarterback out of Alpharetta, Ga. is the 40th ranked recruit in Georgia and the No. 23 ranked quarterback in the country (via Rivals). The 6’3″, 190-lb. signal-caller is tall, mobile and a great athlete.
Dobbs received offers from Maryland, TCU and Arkansas as well as three Ivy League schools before committing to Arizona St. back in June.
Dobbs has continued to impress and will push backup QBs Taylor Cohan and Mike Bercovici in the future.
Josh Tremblay & Nick Kelly: Signed
When American River Community College in Sacramento, Ca. disbanded its football program, local high school standouts were distraught. Soon afterward, two big men who played at ARCC signed their letters-of-intent this week to play at Arizona State. The three-star linemen are guard Josh Tremblay and center Nick Kelly. Tremblay is 6’5″ and 285 lbs of mass that could bulk up a little to fit in with the other 300-lb linemen. Kelly is 6’3″ and 275 lbs and is looking to make his mark as a long snapper.
Tremblay’s Rivals rating of 5.7 is tied for third-highest of all 2013 recruits on the Sun Devils’ roster and will look to learn under coach Graham and current O-Line superstar Evan Finkenberg.