As Signing Day nears, ASU in danger of losing highest-ranked recruit, quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
By TYLER LOCKMAN FS Arizona
With National Signing Day just two days away, college football coaches are frantically making their final pitches to prized recruits. For Arizona State, that seems to mean re-pitching to a recruit who was already considered in the bag.
The recruitment of four-star Alpharetta, Ga., quarterback
Joshua Dobbs has heated up over the past couple weeks, with several new teams entering the fold despite Dobbs' commitment to
ASU last June, leaving the
Sun Devils' staff fighting hard to keep what may be the prize of their 2013 recruiting class.
Recruiting services reported that Dobbs, the highest-ranked recruit verbally committed to ASU, recently took an official visit to
Tennessee. So serious was Tennessee's push, apparently, that two Scout.com analysts
have since predicted Dobbs will sign with the
Volunteers on Wednesday.
Tennessee and new coach Butch Jones can offer a few things ASU cannot. First, there's the potential for Dobbs to start right away with quarterback Tyler Bray skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Dobbs would also be closer to home and playing in a conference with stronger college football tradition. Tennessee also has an aerospace engineering program, which is part of what initially drew Dobbs to ASU.
At ASU, Dobbs would find himself behind Taylor Kelly,
Michael Eubank and
Mike Bercovici on the depth chart. Kelly, the starter, has two years of eligibility left, while Eubank and Bercovici have three each. Dobbs could conceivably overtake Eubank and Bercovici in a couple seasons, but his path to the starting job would have considerably fewer obstacles in Knoxville.
Reports say ASU coach Todd Graham recently visited Alpharetta to watch Dobbs during baseball tryouts. An Atlanta Journal Constitution report said Clemson tried at the last minute to get Dobbs to visit over the weekend, but later reports said he could not make the trip.
While ASU may be secure at the quarterback position for now, losing Dobbs' commitment would be a blow to Graham's second recruiting class. The pro-style prospect, ranked by Scout as the No. 12 quarterback nationally, could be the prize of the group as one of just two committed four-star players and Graham's first quarterback prospect.
In a related development, recruiting services reported last week that ASU has extended a scholarship offer to Dobbs' teammate, George Adeosun, a 6-foot-6, 309-pound offensive tackle with offers from Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and others.
Adeosun, a three-star prospect, posted on his Twitter account last week that Tennessee had made him an offer, which may indicate that schools believe Adeosun's commitment could be key to landing Dobbs. For ASU, a commitment from Adeosun would mean even greater offensive line depth.
ASU has a few other targets yet to decide where they will sign, including L.J. Moore (a four-star cornerback from Fresno, Calif.),
Cameron Judge (a four-star linebacker from Westlake Village, Calif.) and Michael Parker (a four-star safety from Nokesville, Va.). Scout analysts currently predict Parker, who's also considering Miami, and Judge, who's also considering
UCLA, will sign with ASU. Both would significantly increase the strength of the Devils' class.
ASU's expected signing class already features 24 prospects. Among the notable names are four-star Lakeside Blue Ridge linebacker
Chans Cox, who is already enrolled, three-star Scottsdale Notre Dame tight end
Grant Martinez and three-star Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) linebacker twins Viliami and
Alani Latu. The Sun Devils also got a verbal commitment from three-star Coppell (Texas) wide receiver Cameron Smith late last week, bumping their expected recruiting class up to No. 26 in Scout's
national team rankings.
Graham and his staff also have put together another impressive group of junior college commitments a year after landing the likes of Chris Young, Marion Grice and Steffon Martin. ASU's nine junior college prospects expected to sign letters of intent Wednesday represent the fourth most in the nation, behind only Kansas (16), Fresno State (11), Hawaii, Idaho and Texas State (10 each).
A number of those junior college prospects could have an immediate impact for the Sun Devils, including three-star Dodge City (Kan.) defensive lineman Marcus Hardison, Pierce College (Calif.) wide receivers Jaelen Strong and
Joseph Morris, three-star Contra Costa (Calif.) linebacker
Eriquel Florence and three-star Mesa Community College safety Damarious Randall.
Because the Devils return all but three defensive starters and most of its key offensive contributors, they can afford to wait on the incoming class to develop a bit. Incoming wide receivers may get early opportunities to contribute because of a deficiency at the position last season, and defensive backs may get chances as well with the graduation of Deveron Carr and Keelan Johnson.