Three Arizona natives spotlight ASU’s early signing period

This week Arizona State football signed five student athletes to the program to begin enrollment in classes at ASU and begin workouts with the team. The five include two freshman, two sophomores and a junior. Three of which are from Arizona and will all be able to participate in spring practice.

“One thing we take great pride in is signing the best, the brightest, the toughest and the hardest working guys from right here in Arizona,” coach Graham said. “Our plan for here is inside out – that’s from the Phoenix Valley and out across the rest of the state.”

“Being close to home is important for these local guys, but we understand that at the same time, we have to provide a program that offers what these young people want,” Graham added. “We are ready to provide that. We want the best, the brightest, the toughest, the guys with the best character – the best football players – to be able to stay right here at home at ASU. That’s the key to winning championships for us.”

For the second straight season, ASU landed one of the top in-state prospects. Last year it was running back D.J. Foster from Saguaro and now this year it is linebacker Chans Cox from Blue Ridge. Cox is a versatile player who was dominant on both sides of the football for the Yellow Jackets.

While Cox was recruited to be a linebacker for the Sun Devils, he is also a very accomplished player on the offensive side of the ball. Scout.com had Cox as the number one rated fullback in the country. The 6’3 230 pounder graduates Blue Ridge early and will begin at ASU. As reported by Pros2Preps.com earlier in the week, his former teammate Danny Groebner, is going to be his roommate and will walk on this spring as a kicker for the ASU program and perhaps play receiver.

“[ASU’s coaches] are really instilling discipline and character in the program and that is something that means a whole lot to me,” explained Cox. “I really love the coaching staff as well and they always impress me when I visit with them. I’m proud to be an in-state guy committing to ASU and I’m happy that I get to play close to my family and friends and have a great fan base that will always be behind me. It’s going to be a great journey and I’m excited to take part of it.”

“Chans had an opportunity to go anywhere in the country and he came here,” mentioned Graham . “I think that has a lot to do with what our program is about. He’s big, fast, strong and versatile, and he’s going to be a guy that will be impactful to our program in a hurry. We signed DJ (Foster) and Jaxon (Hood), who were two of the best players in the state last year, and then to add Chans, who is one of the top guys in Arizona this season, is something we’re very proud of. His size, his speed and his character are things that really separate him, but it is the leadership that we think he can provide that really gets us excited.”

Defensive end Kisima Jagne is the next freshman and Arizona native to join the Sun Devils. Jagne graduated Chandler high school in 2012 and signed to play at Colorado. However, he opted out to delay his enrollment and will begin practicing with the Sun Devils. At 6’5 and 275 pounds, Jangne adds depth to the ASU offensive line and will be eligible to play right away in 2013.

“Kisima, who is another local product, is a guy that fits our hybrid system because, among other things, his great ability to rush the passer,” Graham said. “It’s all about getting the right fit and we think he has great promise. He’s played in a system that had him blitzing from inside and outside, and he’s big enough to play defensive end. Getting him in the spring is important and we think he can really develop into something special.”

The third valley product to return to Arizona to suit up with the Sun Devils is 6’4 303 pound offensive lineman Christian Westerman. Westerman graduated from Hamilton High School in 2011 as the top prospect in Arizona and signed to play at Auburn. He redshirted in 2011 and appeared in only two games in 2012 with the Tigers due to injury. The redshirt sophomore will be forced to sit out the 2013 season by NCAA rule and will expect to play a big role for ASU in 2014. In the meantime he is cleared to participate in the teams’ spring workouts.

“We’re excited to add Christian, who is one of the best players to have come out of this state in a while,” coach Graham said. “When it comes to recruiting, the one thing that you cannot replace is family and what it means. What our program stands for now – character and class – you can stay right here at home and do everything you want to do. That’s compete for a Pac-12 championship, as well as nationally, and also be proud of the team you’re apart of.

“I think Christian said that he’s gotten more love in the past two days than he got two years somewhere else,” Graham added. “That right there tells you a lot about the importance of the community our student-athletes compete in. We’re thrilled to bring one of the best in the state back home.”

The final two early signees are also offensive lineman. 6’3 280 pound sophomore Nick Kelly from Orangevale, CA and 6’4 280 pound junior Josh Tremblay from Napa, CA. Both played for American River College in Sacramento last season. Kelly will be looked at to play the center position and Tremblay has the versatility to play either the guard or tackle spots.

“Adding both Nick (Kelly) and Josh (Tremblay) not only gives us more depth at offensive line, but it allows us to be more flexible and creative in how we utilize our guys up front,” coach Graham said.

A born and bred Arizonan, Jared has had great passion for the hometown teams all his life. He now channel's that passion into covering the pro, college and high school teams around the state as a Multimedia Reporter for Sports360AZ.