QB Ryan Kelley’s commit has deeper meaning for ASU

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                </div>  Ryan Kelley‘s verbal commitment last week is a big ‘get’ for the Arizona State football program.  The four-star quarterback at Basha High School in Chandler could become a major […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Ryan Kelley‘s verbal commitment last week is a big ‘get’ for the Arizona State football program.  The four-star quarterback at Basha High School in Chandler could become a major impact player for the program.

But his decision to de-commit from Oregon and play for the Sun Devils has even bigger implications.  ASU should reap benefits from his announcement even before the junior arrives on campus next spring.

Head coach Todd Graham is hoping it results in a domino effect to further boost his in-state recruiting efforts.

The 6’3″, 180-pound signal caller is rated by various recruiting services as a top-five dual threat quarterback, 247 Sports lists him as the No. 2 overall recruit from Arizona, and Scout.com has him ranked 112 overall in the 2017 class.

Kelley, an Arizona native, had plenty of offers to consider before deciding on Oregon last November, big-name schools like Nebraska, UCLA, Texas A&M, Washington, Michigan State, and many others.

But when he left the Ducks’ program, he reportedly had narrowed the list this time to just ASU, the Bruins, and the Aggies.  And he wasted no time in plucking the Sun Devils out of the trio.  He announced his de-commit on Tuesday of last week; by Friday, his decision to switch to Tempe was up on twitter.

“After speaking with my family and coaches, I am blessed and thankful to commit to a program that fits who I am and my skill set the best,” he said in his social media post.

It’s not that Kelley’s commitment marks the only prize athlete that Graham and his staff have snagged from within the state.  But, because of the high-profile nature of his position, it could become one of the more important.

Two of Chandler High School‘s best this year will be on board for the 2016 season.  N’Keal Harry, a five-star recruit who ran up 802 yards as a senior wide receiver to help the Wolves to a 11-2 season, committed last November.  After averaging almost 17 yards on 48 receptions, he was considered by most recruiting services to be among the top five prospects coming out of Arizona in the Class of 2016.

Seven days later, a teammate picked ASU to give Sun Devil recruiting a 1-2 punch on the local level. Chase Lucas, a four-star prize, is a running back/receiver considered the No. 2 prospect in the state.  He rushed for 1,126 yards as a junior, but was sidelined for all but five games as a senior. Lucas got just 38 carries last season, but picked up 5.5 yards per carry.

But, ironically, it’s another Chandler High product that will get most of Kelley’s attention once he gets on campus. Bryce Perkins, who was rated the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback in the nation when he graduated in 2014, is standing in line right now, hoping to be the successor next season to Mike Bercovici.

Kelley, like Perkins, has an opportunity to have the kind of impact Graham enjoyed with his first high-profile commit from an Arizona high school.

D.J. Foster was generally considered to be the best high school running back in Arizona when he decided on ASU.

Graham had been ASU’s new head coach for just six weeks on that Jan. 27 day in 2012 when Foster gave him the good news.  The youngster had just finished his senior year at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, where he led the Sabercats to its second straight state title by rushing for 3,058 yards and capped off his prep career by piling up 508 yards in a single game during the playoffs.

Those 508 rushing yards set a new state record.  And he set another state mark by combining 54 rushing touchdowns with five receiving and one more defensive score to total 60 TDs in a single season.

His acquisition not only gave Graham a running back that could make an immediate impact to the rebuilding program he was beginning, but also confirmed his commitment to recruiting locally – a philosophy he has continued to emphasize to this day.

Foster gave up a shot at the NFL to return for his senior season at ASU and became the face of the program.

Kelley and Perkins have that same opportunity. If either is able to work into the starting quarterback role, he would have the same kind of visibility Foster enjoyed in the backfield.

But Basha High finished last season 4-7 with him under center.  Kelley would have to take the Sun Devils to much greater heights to have a chance of following in Foster’s footsteps.

The first order of business, however, will be to get him to sign an NLI.

After all, he’s already changed his mind once.