You might say the stars are finally beginning to align for an Arizona State football program that needs some encouragement after posting two straight losing seasons.
We’re talking about a four-star cornerback; a five-star quarterback who is transferring in from Alabama, the reigning NCAA champion; and a four-star JUCO transfer that was a First Team All-Conference defensive end and top-10 national prospect.
New talent at all three positions will bring much-needed help in the areas the Sun Devils struggled with the most last season, which ended with a 5-7 overall record, six-game losing streak, and a season-ending 21-point loss to rival University of Arizona – the season’s only Pac-12 win for the hapless Wildcats. It doesn’t get much worse than that if you’re a Sun Devil fan.
A string of injuries this season had head coach Todd Graham constantly rotating in quarterbacks, working his way down to third string on his depth chart. And on defense, a porous secondary gave up 357 passing yards per game and was a major factor in enabling Pac-12 opponents to average 42 points a game and leave ASU with just two conference wins.
How bad is the situation on defense? The Devils owned the worst passing defense in the nation the last two seasons.
The prize catch is sophomore QB Blake Barnett, a five-star prospect out of his California high school who was ranked No. 1 in the nation as a pocket passer by ESPN and received a similar distinction by Rivals.com as a dual-threat quarterback .
Alabama won the recruiting war for his services. The 6’5″ signal-caller started the first game this season and appeared in three games before deciding to transfer. When Graham and his staff convinced him Tempe would be a good landing spot, it not only meant a potential game-changer at the most important position on the field, but it should also temper the continuing criticism that the fifth-year head coach hasn’t been able to land a big-time quarterback.
Barnett won’t be available when the season begins since NCAA transfer rules mandate that he sit out a full calendar year from the date of his transfer. He attended a California JUCO last year but didn’t play football, so he is still subject to Division I rules. He announced plans to enroll at ASU in January, which would put him on campus in time for spring drills. He will likely miss the first four or five games.
But that won’t be the case for the four-star talent that has just signed on to play on the defensive side. Alex Perry is a four-star cornerback coming right out of Nevada’s prep powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School, and defensive end Dougladson Subtyl will be coming in from a Florida JUCO and won’t be subject to D-I transfer rules.
Barnett announced his intent to transfer to ASU 11 days ago, while Perry gave his verbal commitment and Subtyl signed on this week.
Perry had made an oral commitment to ASU, but re-opened his recruitment earlier this year. But his decision to re-commit to ASU via twitter makes him the first high school player since last summer to join the 2017 class.
The 5’10’, 165-pound defensive back put himself on the recruiting radar when he was a sophomore at Bishop Gorman, being credited with 46 tackles that season. He finished his senior campaign with 24 and was rated the fifth best cornerback in Nevada by 247 Sports. Scout.com has him listed as No. 15 in the nation.
Subtyl is a native of Haiti that should bring some additional pass rushing ability to next year’s squad. He led his team at Victory Valley College with 52 tackles in 2015 and led the CCCAA with 18 sacks in 11 games played that year. ESPN had him ranked No. 9 overall and the No. 2 JUCO defensive end prospect in the country. He took this season off to concentrate on his studies while attending Eastern Arizona College.