The Arizona State coaching staff and its recruiting efforts have come a long way over three years. From branding “Cali Devils” to expanding their recruiting landscape to much of the west coast, the Sun Devils are now going national over the last couple years.
“It starts with our footprint in Arizona, then the rest of the west coast,” said ASU defensive and recruiting coordinator Antonio Pierce. “This year we tried to expand ourselves east of the Mississippi River, which we did that. We were looking for height and length, bigger bodies with more mass, and some speed down in Florida. As you’ve seen with this program, we’ve kind of hit every area.”
The ASU staff ventured into Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Louisiana to sign players out of its 2021 class. Those recruits included highly-talented athlete Tommi Hill (FL), defensive end Eric Gentry (PA), defensive end Gharin Stansbury (LA), defensive end Travez Moore (LA, LSU transfer), and linebacker Jaydon Williams (TX).
Going into SEC, Big 12, and ACC country, the Sun Devils were able to acquire some highly sought-after targets for a second straight year. After spotlighting many skill position players in recent years, ASU looked to identify the offensive and defensive lines during this recruiting period. They were looking for length and strength. Pierce broke down some of his new talent that comes from the eastern half of the United States.
“We have two gentlemen from the boot (Moore and Stansbury) that are soft-spoken kids…but we are very pleased with our group,” Pierce said. “Then Tommi Hill, if you’ve ever seen pictures, he’s going to come in here with a gold grill and he’ll make you smile and bring that Florida swag for us. Then we got a tall guy named Eric Gentry out of PA, he’s going to be surprising. He’s every bit of 6-foot-6 with an 85-plus wing span and I think he’ll change the game.”
Edwards also spoke high praise of the lone incoming Sun Devil from the Lone Star State.
“Wait until you watch (Jaydon) Williams play, the linebacker. Hopefully when you guys (media) can come to practice, just watch him run. Watch his intensity of how he plays football. It is very obvious when you turn the screen on, he is the fastest guy on the tape and it’s not even close,” said Edwards of the 6-foot-1 LB from Dallas. “It fills my heart when I see a guy play with his type of passion.”
Although this early signing class was smaller than it has been in recent years, Edwards and Pierce both noted that there’s more work to do as his staff tries to continue and branch out nationally on the recruiting circuit among some of the blue bloods in college football.
“We operated in a sense of, we didn’t just stay in a couple of states,” Edwards said of his team’s recruiting process with players. “We went all over this year and that was done with the strategy of how we looked at players in certain parts of the country that fit our DNA. We were fortunate enough that we got a lot of them that we liked.”