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Quotes from Dennis Erickson's signing day press conference

February 06, 2008

Opening Comments:
"It was a good class. First of all, the coaches did a great job. It's been a lot of hard work for a year. That's when you start. We started yesterday with the class of 2009. So it's been a yearlong thing, a lot of work, a lot of relationships that need to be developed. The coaches did a great job. We did a great job here in the state of Arizona, which is where we start, as I've said many times. We've got to continue to do that for us to be successful. Talking about the class, it's a class that is pretty mixed, in that we have some junior college players that we feel have got to play right away. Terell Carr is here, Thomas Njunge, our two defensive lineman [Eugene Germany and Spencer Gasu] have got to play right away for us, Max Tabach has got to play for us right away. That's why you bring junior college players in. When you have Spencer Gasu and Eugene Germany, two defensive linemen, obviously we need some help there. They've got to come in and contribute. They won't be here until the fall, so they've got a lot of learning to do. They'll be here in July, so they've got a lot of catching up to do. But they are very good athletes and can do a lot of things for us."

"As far as our high school athletes, you can go down through the list, a lot of offensive and defensive linemen, as good as I've been around in my coaching career. You start on offense, with Patrick Jamison, who committed very early, Zach Schlink, who committed early, both from Arizona. It's just a good group overall. You look at our defensive front, pretty darn good, I think we have five or six defensive linemen, we got one today that we weren't sure we were going to get or not, and usually on signing day you just hold on and hope you can keep them all around, which we did, and then obviously we got the extra one there at the end that made a huge difference. Jamaar Jarrett was a guy that's going to be a heck of a player, spent a lot of time recruiting him, we were able to get him turned around at the end. That's kind of what the game is all about. I'm real happy with it. You add that with the class that we had last year, and it looks like it's going to be a lot of success. You look at Gerell Robinson and Ryan Bass, two great athletes that could come in and help us next year. I could go on and on. Centennial High School in Corona, [Calif.], gave us three pretty darn good football players [Bass, Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee]. If you watched them play, they were one of the better teams in the state of California. Matt Lubick recruited that area and did a great job."

On getting Jamaar Jarrett:
"We stayed on him. He visited. He committed to Oregon. I hadn't a chance to go down there and visit him. We went down the last week of recruiting, visited with him and his coach. I've known his coach for a bit. Coach [Craig] Bray and I, coach [Grady] Stretz, went down there and were able to convince him. He was a hard guy to get a hold of, like a lot of them. He decided after looking at everything, and going back and forth, that's what he wanted to do. It was a good get for us."

On how he judges the class:
"When you recruit junior college players, it's probably need. So you look at the five junior college players that we have, we brought them in to play right away. Two of them are here, like I said. When you're dealing with freshmen, it's how good an athlete can you get. It's not so much position, although we knew we needed offensive and defensive linemen, but we're going to get the best player that we could. We were going to take the guys in Arizona regardless of position. As it came down, we covered about every need and we got pretty darn good athletes."

On Lawrence Guy:
"He's a big defensive end that played extremely well. If you watched the all-star game, he played really well. He's a guy that's physical right now, could come in and help us right away, no question about it. He's a very good athlete, can run really well for his size."

On the number of players in this class that could play multiple positions:
"We just got some good athletes. [Jarrell] Barbour could play either way, he could play safety or receiver. [Kemonte] Bateman is a receiver. Clint Floyd could play corner or safety, or play in the slot. Keelan Johnson could play safety or receiver. [A.J.] Pickens is a receiver. Gerell Robinson is a receiver, in our minds, but he's a great athlete. You go down through those guys. Toa Tuitea is a guy who can play tight end or defensive end. That's in a little different category, but he's a guy that we looked at on both sides of the football, and he can play either side. He was just an athlete that we thought could play for us. That's kind of how we look at them a lot. To me, as I look at this class, and I'm just looking at them as far as how we rated them athletically, not how the stars rated them, we think it's an awfully good class. Some of these guys that are freshmen are going to help us, no question about it, right away."

On getting so many players from California:
"It's a five-hour drive to southern California, and that's where we have a lot of experience. So we went down there, and we're going to go hard in that state. That doesn't mean we're not going to recruit Texas. We're going to continue to recruit Texas. There's no question about that. We're going to recruit wherever there's a good football player. But we know California extremely well, a lot of football players in California. We feel like, in the state of California, particularly southern California with the connections that we have, and how close it is, we have a chance to compete against anybody."

On Jack Elway:
"He's got pretty good bloodlines. His dad wasn't a bad player. I worked with him since he was about seven years old, John. I'm just kidding you, but I've known him for a long time. Jack has got a great upside. He hasn't filled out yet. He's grown since he's been here on his visit. When we went to visit him in Denver, he'd grown about an inch, played point guard on their basketball team, probably 195 [or] 200 pounds. He's going to be 6-[foot]-4, 210 [or] 215 pounds before it's all over with, maybe even bigger than that. He's a great athlete. He's got an extremely strong arm. He's got great football savvy. So he's got such a huge upside. I think you'll find as time goes on that he'll surprise you on how good he can be. And those bloodlines are pretty good, like I said."

On having worked with Elway's grandfather:
"Jack Sr. and I go back so many years. I won't tell you every story, because it's probably not for publication. He and my father coached together back at the University of Montana in 1967, when I was playing at Montana State. I knew Jack [Sr.] when he was a high school coach because he was a good friend of my father's. Then I had the opportunity to work for him when he was the head coach at San Jose State. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have his grandson. Obviously, Jack [Sr.] died when Jack was really young, so he told me the other day that one of the reasons he was going to come was so he could hear stories about his grandpa. It means a lot to me, and Jack, that we're going to be able to be together here for four or five years."

On if the success of this season created more possibilities in recruiting:
"Winning opens a lot of doors. It opens a lot of doors. We won some games on TV, and we got to what we consider a pretty good bowl. Guys were watching us. So when you win 10 football games, it really opens some doors. When you're on TV, and you show the stadium, the atmosphere, all the great things that we have here in Tempe, and they show the city, the campus, the students and all those different things on TV, those kids (say), `hey man, I want to take a look at that thing.' It makes a difference. The more they see it, the better it is. There's no question about it."

On recruiting in Arizona:
"It's going to get better and better. The population is growing. The coaching is extremely good. Just in this area is where most of them are at. We want to control this area. We want to put a fence around it and not let anybody out if we can. If we can do that, and we get these homegrown players that have watched Arizona State play for awhile, and then have success and keep them here, that's a start right there. If you can get eight or nine players out of the state every year, that helps."

On Ryan Bass:
"He's a great talent. He's got great vision, great explosion. The guy fits into what we do. He's an every-down back. He can catch it. Like all of them, they've got a lot of things to learn. But he's a talented young guy that can run. He's got breakaway speed, so when gets in that secondary, he can take it all the way."