February 2010 saw a full class of 26 players join the football program. This was a mediocre graded class as Scout ranked it 26th overall and 6th best in the conference, while Rivals ranked ASU 35th overall and 8th best in conference. These are just early rankings and a true class can only be measured after their time in Tempe, but six of these 26 signees will make absolutely no contributions to the Sun Devil football program on Saturdays. The other 20 players are full of potential.
Reviewing the three major scouting websites (Scout, Rivals, ESPN) and their rankings, several players were given star rankings greater than 3. Deantre Lewis, George Bell, Eddie Elder, and Brice Schwab received 4 stars from Scout. Lewis, Bell, Schwab, Josh Fulton, and Junior Onyeali received 4 stars from Rivals, while no recruit received 4 stars from ESPN.
During Episode 25, we broke down some of the key players from the 2010 class. Here are details on the full 2010 class.
6 JUCO Players
- A 6’3” 195 lb wide receiver out of San Diego, CA who spent time at Southwestern CC. Bell joined the ASU program in the winter with high hopes of starting immediately due to the losses of both starters Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams. Bell was a highly rated 4 star JUCO WR, but his first season in Tempe was marred with drops. During 2011, his senior year, Bell seemed to get over the drops even though he was rarely targeted early in the season. Sadly, he will be remembered for a drop . . . on a slant route .. . in the endzone at UCLA in 2011 . . . the beginning of the end . . Bell played in all 13 games during the 2011 season, but only 2 starts, and finished with 18 catches for 211 yds and 1 TD..
- In 2010, Schwab joined ASU as a 6’ 7” 345 lb OT out of Palomar Community College (CA) who committed to USC but switched to ASU after Pete Carroll left for the Seahawks. Schwab started the first four games of 2010, but he was quickly moved off to the 2nd team and special teams where he is most known for his missed coverage on an extra point at USC – that blocked kick was returned for 2 pts and USC stole a game from ASU 34-33. Schwab dropped 45 pounds getting ready for 2011 Spring Ball as he completely rededicated himself. Due to the offensive line issues and a significant amount of players graduating, Schwab used his redshirt to continue reshaping his body and refining his technique. He is expected to be the SR leader of the 2012 offensive line. As Spring 2012 practice begins, Schwab is working out as the 1st team right tackle.
Chris De Armas
- A 6’4” 305 lb offensive guard out of Miami, FL through El Camino JC who originally committed to South Florida out of high school. De Armas saw the field as part of the second team offensive line but never registered a start for the Sun Devils.
- A 6’4” 215 lb wide receiver out of Long Beach, CA through Cerritos CC. Early in his Sun Devil career, Dennis Erickson compared Willie to TJ Houshmandzadeh. Willie was a big target for Steven Threet and Brock Osweiler during his two years in Tempe. For his career, Willie caught 72 balls for 897 yards and 9 TDs. One of Willie’s most valuable traits was his massive run blocking. Often, the run plays were to his side of the field. Sadly, due to his lack of fear for contact, Wille was caught in several situations where he was flagged for personal fouls erasing big gains by the offense. Willie was consistent during his career, whether that was consistently good or consistently bad depended on the game, so he will need a huge senior day performance if he wants to get into an NFL Camp.
- A 6’7” 310 lb offensive tackle out of Marrero, LA through El Camino JC. Simmons was a high school and JC basketball player who finally got so big, he started playing football. Simmons was extremely raw in technique, but his amazing athleticism made up for it. Simmons split time between the 1st and 2nd teams during his time at Arizona State where he appeared in 13 games overall, starting 9.
- A 6’0” 190 lb safety out of Sacramento, CA through the College of San Mateo. Elder originally committed to the University of Arizona, but some of his credits couldn’t transfer there, so Elder became a Sun Devil since ASU had his major. Elder played in 25 games during his two seasons in Tempe, and he collected 129 tackles and 3 interceptions. Elder will be known for his tremendous back field tackling, but Elder often made mistakes in coverage. When Elder was in the right position covering receivers, he sometimes suffered from brick hands. Elder has a chance to play at the next level, but proper positioning in coverage will be his key development task.
20 High School Players
- A 6’0” 240 lb defensive end out of Mullen High School in Denver, CO forced his way onto the field his freshman year and showed an amazing speed pass rush which led him to being named the 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He was also named Rivals 2010 Freshman All-American Team. He had 18 tackles, but 11.5 were for a loss, 6.5 of which were for sacks. Heading into 2011, Onyeali had big expectations, but sadly, his lack of performance on the field was part of the dismal season which ended with the firing of Dennis Erickson. Onyeali had 11 tackles and 1 sack this season as teams exploited his “pass rush” mentality by running right at him. Additionally, Onyeali had numerous “late hit” personal fouls that hurt the team. His lack of discipline on the field carried over to off the field as Onyeali was suspended for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas after an incident involving Erickson. New Head Coach Todd Graham promptly suspended Onyeali indefinitely, and heading into 2012, Onyeali has to work his way back onto the team. Onyeali is suspended for Spring Practice, but he was seen conditioning on the sidelines Wednesday March 14th during practice.
- A 5’10” 190 lb running back out of Norco High School in Norco, CA. Lewis burst onto the scene his freshman year showing superb vision and the ability to make a cut into the hole and burst through it. At #7 Wisconsin, which was the third week of his freshman season, Lewis showed no fear rushing 9 times for 122 yards. That was followed by a spectacular performance at home against #3 Oregon where Lewis rushed for 127 yards on 11 carries with 1 TD. Electrifying was a word for Lewis’ freshman year as he had 987 all purpose yards. However, his life changed right after the season. On February 12, 2011 when Lewis was shot while at a celebration for his newly born nephew. At first it was reported as a stray bullet, but recent reports state that Lewis was targeted. Regardless of the incident, hamstring nerve damage caused Lewis to redshirt the 2011 season which severely hurt the RB depth chart. Lewis has worked extremely hard the past year to get back into shape. Look at pictures from his freshman year to now, and you can see significant body differences in his arms and legs from training. Spring practice of 2012 will see Lewis get on the field a bit and gradually get back into game playing shape. If all goes well, we may see Lewis in the backfield in 2012 where he complements starter Cameron Marshall extremely well.
- A 6’1” 230 lb linebacker out of Norco High School in Norco, CA. Bradford was a high school teammate who played both ways as a LB and FB. His FB duties were being the lead blocker for Lewis, but ASU saw more upside on the defensive side of the ball. Bradford was redshirted in 2010, and in 2011, he was supposed to be the backup middle linebacker. However, due to lack of depth at the DE position (Brooks sudden departure, Onyeali injury), Bradford was moved to D-End during the season where he forced his way on the field with solid play by the end of the season. He finished his redshirt freshman year with 12 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Bradford is a ASUDevilsDen favorite, and we expect him to shine in the new aggressive system with his speed and power combination.
- A 5’9” 176 lb offensive athlete (running back, wide receiver, kick returner) out of Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, CA. Middlebrooks has superb speed, but he is not the biggest back who has already appeared in 24 games in his Sun Devil career, but he only has 1 TD in his two years here. During his freshman year in 2010, Middlebrooks was a part-time WR, but he is most known for being a superb kickoff return man where he was introduced to the world with this amazing but difficult to swallow return. In 2011, Middlebrooks was moved to RB after the loss of Deantre Lewis, but he was not effective. Middlebrooks tended to dance and try to wait for something to open, and his most effective plays were when he got the ball in space. However, in 2012, Middlebrooks seems to be a man without a position and he has a lot to prove. DJ Foster, Marion Grice, and the return of Lewis seem to provide the RB depth for Marshall while there are over 7 WRs competing for playing. To further complicate the matters, the NCAA has implemented a similar kickoff rule to the NFL which will limit the effectiveness of special teams where Middlebrooks excelled.
- A 6’0” 180 lb cornerback/safety out of Millikan Senior HS in Long Beach, CA. Darby is an extremely talented athlete who isn’t afraid to hit. Darby played as a true freshman on special teams, and he saw some 2nd team reps in the secondary as a safety finishing with 14 tackles on the season. In 2011, due to injuries to Spann and Wadood, Darby was moved to CB for the first time in his career. While raw in his movements, Darby’s will and athleticism helped him gain more playing time during the season where he saw significant playing time as nickel corner starting during the Oregon State game. Darby finished the season with 3 interceptions (2 vs Oregon State and 1 vs Utah) and 51 tackles, ending with a season/team high of 10 tackles during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Going into 2012, Darby will probably move back to safety after the graduation of Eddie Elder and Cliff Floyd.
- A 6’5” 270 lb offensive tackle out of Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA. Sulka redshirted in 2010. In 2011, Sulka was a strong 2nd team offensive tackle, even starting 1 game against Utah due to Finkenberg and Simmons injuries. With some playing time experience, he will head into 2012 challenging for a starting spot on the line.
- A 6’4” 305 lb offensive guard out of Tesoro High School in Rancho Margarita, CA. Ajawara redshirted in 2010 and received some playing time early in the 2011 season as a 2nd teamer. Similar to Sulka, with so many losses to the offensive line, he will head into 2012 challenging for a starting spot.
- A 6’3” 185 lb quarterback out of Eagle High School in Eagle, Idaho. Kelly redshirted in 2010, where he led the scout team with rave reviews from the Erickson coaching staff and reporters covering the tam. In 2011, Kelly competed for the backup to Osweiler but lost out to true freshman Mike Bercovici. Kelly did see some playing time debuting against UC-Davis and getting some playing time against Colorado. Kelly was 4 for 4 passing and he rushed for 24 yards. He enters the 2012 campaign battling for the starting position with sophomore Bercovici and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank.
- A 6’4” 225 lb defensive end out of Scottsdale Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, AZ. McDonald redshirted in 2010. He didn’t see much playing time in 2011. As more of a traditional 4-3 DE, it will be interested to see where he fits into the new defensive scheme heading into 2012.
- A 5’11” 175 lb cornerback out of Junipero Serra in Gardena, CA. Spann redshirted in 2010, and in Spring Ball of 2011, he ran with the first team for some time until three different shoulder injuries led to Spann missing the 2011 season due to shoulder surgery. Entering the 2012 season, sadly Spann will miss spring ball due to his surgery recovery. He needs a strong fall to enter the CB competition under new Secondary Coach Chris Ball.
- A 6’5” 255 lb defensive lineman out of El Camino High School in Oceanside, CA. Te’i redshirted in 2010. As a 2nd and 3rd team defensive lineman, his playing time was limited, 2 tackles on the season, but he did have a big half sack at Utah. Te’i is a physical lineman who in the future with this defensive scheme could develop into a nice 3-4 defensive end whose job is to clog the gap and tie up offensive lineman.
- A 5’11” 185 lb wide receiver out of Lakewood High School in Lakewood, CA. Anderson redshirted in 2010 and spent the 2011 season buried in the WR depth chart. In 2012, he is in the big competition to replace Robinson, Willie, Bell, and Pflugrad.
- A 6’2” 195 lb wide receiver out of The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, TX. Similar to Anderson, Knust redshirted in 2010 and spent the 2011 season buried in the WR depth chart. In 2012, he is in the big competition to replace Robinson, Willie, Bell, and Pflugrad.
- A 6’5” 255 lb offensive tackle with a ton of potential out of Cypress High School in Cypress, CA. The offensive tackle red-shirted in 2010, but like Adams, he was suspended indefinitely from the team after being arrested on burglary charges with Adams. Douglas stayed with the team and worked in the off-season to rejoin the team in spring ball. Douglas played in 2011 as mostly a special teams player – punt protection. Heading into 2012, Douglas will be in the offensive line competition.
- A 6’2” 225 lb defensive end out of Corona Centennial High School in Corono, CA. The defensive end committed to ASU continuing the pipeline led by Lyons, Magee, Burfict, and Sutton. Adams played in the 1st game of the 2010 season, but on October 8th, he was arrested for stealing an X-Box from a dorm room, with freshman Jamil Douglas, and he was suspended indefinitely from the team. Adams left the team after the season and went to play at Riverside CC. He ended up a 2012 signee with Texas Tech.
- A 5’10” 180 lb safety out of Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, AZ. Abreu was one of the top HS players in Arizona. Redshirt for 2010 season, but suspended from ASU team in January 2011 after being charged for felony sexual conduct with a minor. The story goes that Abreu was an 18 year old Senior in high school and he had consensual sex with a 14 year old freshman female, but the girls mother reported it to police for official charges against Abreu.
- A 6’5” 235 lb tight end out of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, AZ. Fulton greyshirted due to suffering a knee injury his senior year of high school . . .joined ASU in December of 2010 – like an early enrollee of 2011 class – and redshirted the 2011 season. ASUDevils.com reported that he has left the program.
- A 6’0” 200 lb running back out of Mira Mesa High School in San Diego, CA. The 3star RB did not academically qualify and went to Arizona Western JC. He ended up a 2012 signee with Oklahoma as one of the top West Coast JC RBs.
- A 5’11” 200 lb running back out of Chandler High School in Chandler, AZ. Walstad was the earliest commit to this class, but he injured his knee and redshirted freshman year. Eventually, Walstad transferred to UNLV.
- A 6’4” 320 lb offensive guard from Arlington High School in Riverside, CA. The 2star offensive guard did not academically qualify and went to Arizona Western JC. He ended up a 2012 signee with Oregon State – now a run-stuffing 6’4” and 340 lbs DT though.