Hard work on recruiting trail paying off for Graham, Rodriguez

Arizona Sports News online

Both Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez promised change when they arrived in Arizona just over two years ago. Both were taking over fledgling programs in need of makeovers on and off the field. To this point each has met or exceeded expectations bringing much more than respectability back to ASU and UofA football.

Wednesday they will usher in a new era of players and essentially, the future of both programs as National Letter of Intent Day kicks off bright and early around the country.

Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat caught up FOX Sports/Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins Tuesday to get a national perspective on both classes, as well as some of the state’s top prep players continuing their careers elsewhere.

Who’s has the better overall class, ASU or UofA? “Right now I think you have to give the edge to ASU. They’re winning the Pac-12. They’re tops in our rankings [as of Wednesday]. I think they’re like number 11, 12 or 13 in our national rankings so really good class for the Sun Devils right now.”

Who are the kids you really like out of this class for ASU? [Quarterback Manny Wilkins] is awesome. Great, great kid. The kind of guy you want your daughter to date. He definitely is the headliner. A four-star quarterback who can do a lot of different things on the field…he’s a leader. The Sun Devils’ staff has worked really hard to find guys early and just grind it. D.J. Calhoun could be the best linebacker on the west coast. An early, early USC commit who kind of backed off after the coaching change…Tyler Whiley is an in-state guy. Whiley’s kind of the guy who got things going. He was the first real big in-state guy who said, ‘ok, I’m in. I’m on board.’ He’s an elite, four-star wide receiver. Very talented.”

What do you see in Rich Rodriguez’s class? “Brandon Dawkins is the quarterback. Unlimited upside. Seen Brandon play a ton. Cam Newton body. Big, physical…he probably has the strongest arm on the west coast. Cameron Denson, he could play at any school in the country. He’s that good. He’ll play right away. His teammate Kaelin Deboskie had a big year at wide receiver. Those guys are pretty electric. I like their defense. They got a couple teammates from LA…Jamardre Cobb, Marquise Ware. Cobb is probably the top inside linebacker in the west. Marquise Ware: versatile kid, outside linebacker, tight end. Maybe even defensive end if he gets bigger. He can do all those things. Overall, real, real solid class for Rich Rod. It’s a Top 25 national class right now.”

Where do you see Scottsdale Desert Mountain’s Kyle Allen fitting in at Texas A&M? “I think he’s got a chance. I’m a Kyle Allen guy. He was our number one quarterback this past year…it’s going to be wide open for him. They have a couple other quarterbacks that are better than people know at A&M so he’s not going to be given the job but I think he’s extremely gifted with all the physical stuff but what I like about Kyle is he’s so smart, so sharp. I think he’s going to be able to come in mid-year, he’s there right now, and learn the offense…he’s got the arm. He’s very accurate.”

To hear the rest of the interview click here.