Christian Lindvall: The Recipe for Success for ASU Football? Recruit in Chandler.
Christian Lindvall writes opinions for CTR, is an ASU grad, and a former CTOWN athlete. Have tips or feedback? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know elite college football programs aren’t built in two recruiting classes. Coach Todd Graham inherited a program with the tired label of “Sleeping Giant.” And I know how sleepy that giant had become before he arrived. I lived through the incompetent, aloof tenure of Dirk Koetter, a five-year debacle best remembered for a 2-19 record against ranked teams and the gross mishandling of running back Loren Wade. Then came the Dennis Erickson years, a Coach who elevated the talent level but lowered the bar in regards to discipline -and outright perfected the cliché of an old, stubborn coach who took forever to admit his failures. (i.e. the outright disaster of Rich Olson as Offensive Coordinator and Danny Sullivan as starting quarterback to name a couple.)
Above all else, ASU’s most glaring failure was the lack of ability and lack of interest in some cases, to lock down the top talent in the state. And I know it’s unreasonable to expect any Coach to get every single top-tier player in the state. After all, they’re dealing with impressionable teenagers who swoon over the “power of the Swoosh” or decide that they want to build their “brand” elsewhere. (Seriously, if someone wants to build their “brand” elsewhere, then I’m thrilled that they won’t be wearing the Sun Devil uniform.) In some cases, they’re outgunned by programs that have the luxury of boosters with deep pockets. That’s fine. Coach Graham won’t win every initial battle but he better make sure that he’s building the relationships necessary (you know, like the ones his predecessors completely failed to build) to win a majority of those fights in years to come.
The premier place for Coach Graham to start the search for top-tier players is in Chandler, AZ. It has the best team in the state over the last decade and three other solid programs spilling over with talent. A staggering number of players from the city of Chandler have left ASU in their wake over the last few years. Here’s a tiny sample:
Christian Westerman- Auburn (although he’s now a Sun Devil via transfer)
Cameron Jordan- California
Cole Luke- Notre Dame
Brett Hundley- UCLA
Markus Wheaton- Oregon State
Paul Perkins- UCLA
Devon Carrington- Stanford
Tyler Johnstone- Oregon
So if Coach Graham wants a swift turnaround for the Sun Devil Program, then he needs to train his recruiting focus on Chandler. Go where the talent is and don’t let it leave the state.
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