Devils in Detail is pleased to introduce new staff writer Ryan Knowles, a dedicated college sports fan and long-time follower of the Arizona State Sun Devils. In his inaugural column, Ryan looks at the prospects for five key recruits to the Sun Devil football program.
With eight wins and the school’s first bowl victory in seven seasons, Todd Graham’s debut season with the ASU Sun Devils was a success. A big reason why was the players Graham recruited in his first two months on the job in 2012. Game changers like Marion Grice, Chris Young and D.J. Foster were instrumental in transforming ‘High Octane’ and ‘Left Lane, Hammer Down’ from catchphrases to reality.
For this success to continue, CTG must continue to recruit strong talent that can contribute immediately. While recruiting is still a few crucial days from completion, these five commits find themselves in an ideal position to be ‘Speaking Victory’ this fall.
1. LB Chans Cox – No player illustrates the change in philosophy for the ASU football program better than Cox. A talented, two-way player from Lakeside Blue Ridge who had drawn offers from many prestigious schools chose the Devils in June, continuing a recent trend of local talent committing to the Devils under Graham’s watch. With team cornerstone Brandon Magee graduating, there is a gaping hole in the middle that Cox is looking to fill. A rare combination of size, speed and athleticism, the local product is currently enrolled at ASU and looking to use spring practice as a showcase for his skills in preparation for the fall.
2. CB/S Demarious Randall – A versatile defensive back from Mesa, Randall brings an exciting mix of size and speed to a secondary that was among the nation’s best in 2012. A JUCO 1st-team All-American and his conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, Randall seems tailor-made to replace Keelan Johnson, another big, physical ball hawk who often set the tone for the Devils’ defense in 2012. Randall filled up the stat sheet at Mesa CC with 70 tackles, nine interceptions and electrified on special teams with four punt returns for touchdowns last season.
3. DT Marcus Hardison – One of the most coveted JUCO players in the country, Hardison comes to the Devils as another weapon in the arsenal that has become the Maroon and Gold’s defensive line. A dynamic pass rusher from the inside or the edge, the Florida native creates much-needed depth at a position where keeping players fresh is crucial. Hardison’s skills should be employed when spelling Davon Coleman and Will Sutton without a drop-off in performance.
4. WR Grant Martinez – A tight end at Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Martinez, at 6-5, 210 lbs, is a match-up nightmare, who can line up all over the field. The wideout position was one of the most inconsistent for the Devils in 2012, worsened by the departures of Rashad Ross and Jamal Miles, leaving the team in need of playmakers immediately. Martinez is a big, athletic target who is confident he can contribute right away; an important quality to have on a Todd Graham team.
5. P Matt Haack – While the punter position is not considered a major focus in most football circles, when a punter like Josh Hubner becomes such an asset in controlling field position, it becomes difficult to replace. Few players were as well-regarded in the media, locker room and in the community as Hubner, who was also one of Todd Graham’s first converts and spokesmen of his style and regime. While no one is expecting this from Haack, he is still attempting to fill some big shoes on the field for how Hubner dictated field position on his way to being a Ray Guy Award semi-finalist. Haack’s transition to the college game will be one to watch going into the fall.