NCF Nation: Michael Willie

Pac-10 recruiting wrap: Arizona State

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
11:45
AM ET
Arizona State's recruiting class of 26 was about filling "needs," said coach Dennis Erickson, which is why five of the six junior college transfers will play on offense and 15 of the signees come from that side of the ball.

The Sun Devils defense broke through last fall, but the offense struggled -- again --and lost seven starters. The class includes five receivers and three running backs, and it's almost certain at least a couple will be in the rotation in the fall.

Top prospects: You can probably pencil in Brice Schwab as a starting offensive tackle. Erickson called the 6-foot-8, 320 pounder "the best junior college offense lineman that I saw." Offensive guard Chris De Armas also could break through. The Sun Devils needed a tight end and Josh Fulton is a good one, though he is recovering from shoulder surgery. Safety Eddie Elder was signed to compete immediately for playing time. Erickson said receiver George Bell "could be special."

Under the radar: Erickson compared receiver Michael Willie to T. J. Houshmandzadeh, whom he coached at Oregon State. He called cornerback Alden Darby a "sleeper." Erickson compared the class' lone quarterback, Taylor Kelly, to Jake Plummer.

Issues: The class was generally ranked in the bottom half of the Pac-10. And the influx of junior college players might send up a red flag to some. It's a little surprising Erickson wasn't able to sign a couple of highly rated skill position players, considering the immediate opportunity to play.

Notes: Two key players not listed in the class are transfers: quarterback Steven Threet (Michigan) and Aaron Pflugrad (Oregon). Both could be starters in the fall ... Erickson said Joita Te'i and Calvin Tonga will start out on the defensive line but could end up as offensive linemen ... The class features players from five states.

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