Big 3 colleges share the local talent at signing day

Arizona’s three major universities scooped up 19 local athletes at yesterday’s official day for signing Letters of Intent, with Northern Arizona taking the lion’s share.

Arizona State and University of Arizona each added five locals their rosters and NAU picked up the other nine.   Overall, ASU signed 25 student-athletes, UofA had 20 signees, and NAU went with 22 picks.

As usual, each head coach spread some rays of optimism over this year’s recruiting success.  Dennis Erickson at ASU:  “We have a heck of a good recruiting class.  Probably as good as we have had.  I’m excited about it.  Everybody is.”  Mike Stoops at UofA: “We were able to fill the most pressing needs, especially with the mid-year linebackers, some linemen on both sides of the ball, receivers, and players in the secondary.”   Jerome Souers at NAU: “It was a good class of talent available to us.   We felt we have addressed the needs of our program to go with a good returning class.”

In his fourth signing class as ASU’s head coach, Erickson picked up some good talent on both offense and defense, drawing from California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  In his four years, he has signed a total of 29 Arizona players.  This year’s class includes 19 freshmen, including the highest-rated running back, tight end, and defensive end in the state.

There were six offensive linemen included in this signing for the Sun Devils, which is the most in any signing class since 2002.  And five players are rated among the nation’s top 20 at their position.

The locals signing with ASU: Ramon Abreu (Marcos de Niza HS), Lee Adams (Centennial HS), Josh Fulton (St. Mary’s HS), Jordan McDonald (Saguaro HS), and Taylor Walstad (Chandler HS).

At UofA, the Wildcats were split evenly among offensive and defensive recruits.  Coach Stoops picked up five offensive linemen, four receivers, and a quarterback on offense… five linemen, three linebackers, and four secondary players on defense.

As usual, he snagged players from the Wildcats’ prime recruiting areas of Texas and California, but also extended the program’s national recruiting by bringing in players from Illinois, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Minnesota.

The local signings with UofA: Kyle Benson (Corona del Sol HS), Marquis Flowers (Millennium HS), Chase Gorham (Chaparral HS), Jourdan Grandon (Westview HS), and Josh Robbins (Canyon del Oro HS).

Meanwhile, Coach Souers at NAU was able to convince 11 athletes to trade the sunny climes of California for the frozen tundra of Flagstaff, thereby escalating the recruiting wars in Cali.  The Lumberjacks added 13 offensive players that covered several line spots and all the skill positions; on defense, they added considerable depth on the line and at the linebacker position.

The Jacks also picked up a couple of junior college transfers from Diablo Valley College in California, a wideout and an offensive lineman.

The locals signing with NAU: Anders Battle (Desert Vista HS), Zach Bauman (Hamilton HS), Chase Cartwright (Corona del Sol HS), Drew Emanuel (Highland HS), Craig Frum (Red Mountain HS), Roy Garcia (Marcos de Niza HS), Randy Hale (Buckeye HS), Jake Phipps (Red Mountain HS), and Hayden Renning (Sinagua HS).