Securing majority of in-state recruits still a tough pull for ASU, UA
The Arizona State and Arizona football teams had successful first years under new coaches Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez, which could bode well for National Letter of Intent signing day next month.
And like every year, there is talk from both schools about securing the state and locking down the best Arizona has to offer. As the local talent base grows, it’s now feasible that a large collection of in-state recruits could lead the way to success for either university.
However, the likelihood of it happening is still slim.
Oregon is in town and will play in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday. Chandler product Dion Jordan is a dominant defensive player who is projected as a first-round NFL draft pick after the season. Hamilton alum Tyler Johnstone is already starting on the offensive line.
Notre Dame will play for the national championship in former Chaparral star Davonte Neal’s first season, and Hamilton defensive back Cole Luke will be following him there.
Both programs have shown the propensity to swoop in and steal blue-chip kids from Arizona, as have other premier programs nationally.
In certain areas of the country, players grow up with rabid allegiances to the in-state college. It’s what makes teams like Alabama and Texas so strong. But in Arizona, those ties aren’t as great. And while some players like Christian Westerman return home after unsuccessful stints in other places, others have found great success out of state.
There’s no consensus on the better path, and the pull of the national programs is just too great.
For a long time, the Wildcats and Sun Devils needed to dip into California and elsewhere to bulk up their rosters. As the population continues to grow, keeping a primary focus in Arizona could work if the local stars decided to stay home. Some, like former Saguaro star D.J. Foster (ASU) and former Canyon del Oro standout Ka’Deem Carey (UA), did stay here for college and are now excelling.
If seven or eight kids from a top-10 Arizona class chose one of the local colleges together, it would be an interesting progression to watch. However, with the different agendas and ideologies, it’s hard to imagine that happening.
Maybe a Rose Bowl would change the thinking. It might take a national championship.
But despite the pleas of the local coaches, Arizona recruits don’t seem inclined to stay home in collective fashion any time soon.