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Quotes from Dennis Erickson's signing day press conference

February 04, 2009

Arizona State University Football Signs 21 Players to Letters of Intent

Opening statement:
"First of all, obviously the staff did an outstanding job of doing the recruiting. All these important people around here, when we bring players on campus, meeting with the academic people and all the other people on campus, it's such a key to recruiting. It's a huge part of it. (Associate AD for Student-Athlete Development) Jean [Boyd] did a great job. The thing about recruiting that I don't think people understand is that every coach is involved in every prospect. It's not always the guy from the one area that's recruiting. It's pretty much a team effort in recruiting. The other thing that's key is, I look at it a couple different ways when we talk about recruiting. I look at evaluations as the biggest key. Evaluation isn't just getting onto YouTube and looking at a guy play or watching him on tape. Evaluation is a lot of different things: how important is the game to him, what kind of a student is he, what kind of character, all these different things that you check over a year or two years. There are some guys we've recruited ever since I've been here, so evaluation is such a key. The other thing is recruitability. What I call recruitability is, what kind of an opportunity do we have for this guy to come to Arizona State? Not everyone wants to come to Arizona State, but a lot of them do. Those are all the things that we are involved in. We've been working the last two days on next year already, as we did a year ago. There are a lot of guys that we're recruiting now that we've been working on since they were ninth graders or 10th graders. It's a year-round thing. I look at this class (as being) every bit as good as the one we had last year, without a doubt. A little different in some areas, but when it's all said and done, and you sit down and look at this class and add it to the class that we had last year and the class that we had the year before, it's an excellent class. Sometimes they aren't all highly rated by some of the services, and that's all part of evaluation. It's not always how they are now; it's how are they going to be two years from now or three years from now. That's just how recruiting is. In saying that, I will just go through this group." 

On Corey Adams:
"He's one of the better defensive linemen in the country. Obviously he has an opportunity to come in and play."

On Vontaze Burfict:
"I've been recruiting a long time, and I don't know that I've seen a better high school football player than him, when you watch him, plus all the other intangibles he has that make him a great football player. He's a guy that could have an impact next year, we would think."

On Christopher Coyle:
"Out of Oaks Christian, a great football school. The school has had a lot of players over the years. [Chris] is the first that we have had out of that school. He's a guy that has huge potential at tight end and is a very good route runner. We're excited about having Chris. He committed pretty early and was very heavily recruited. Some of these guys committed early, so people stopped recruiting them. Chris is going to help us at tight end."

On Dean Deleone:
"In talking to our strength coaches, he's been here working out for three weeks, since school started. He is what we thought. He can run. He's 250 pounds, defensive end, and obviously a good junior college player. He's going to have an impact."

On LeQuan Lewis:
"LeQuan Lewis is a guy that can run. I've been told he's the fastest guy we've got on our team. We kind of thought that when we recruited him. He can add a lot at corner, (in the) return (game); he can do a lot of different things for us."

On Brock Osweilier and Matthew Tucker:
"It's kind of the trend that's happening in college football. You're seeing a lot of players graduate early. A lot of them go to the school that they choose for the spring semester to be involved in spring football. It happens a lot. I think Miami had seven a year ago, Texas had 11 or 12. This is our first two. Brock Osweiler has got huge potential. We've seen him in the weight room and running, and he's very athletic. You would not know he was 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8. He's got a lot of talent. Matt Tucker, he's a guy that has got huge potential."

On Deleone, Lewis, Osweiler and Tucker:
"Those are four guys that will be here for spring football, so it will be exciting to watch them play. When we recruit junior college players now, it's because it's an immediate need or we feel like they can come in and play right away. We feel like that with those two (Deleone and Lewis)."

On Evan Finkenberg:
"Here's a guy that is a great story. About three days before he started his senior year he was a tight end, but he was 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, so they decided, just before they started practice, to move him to tackle. He is what you need at tackle. He's athletic. Their season lasted a long time, because they were in the playoffs. They were coached really well. You get him on tape later in the year after he's played that position for a while, and he's good. Will he play next year? Most offensive linemen don't. If you think a freshman offensive lineman will come in and play, you're kidding yourself. It doesn't happen. But down the road, he's the kind of guy that we want. He's big. He's the kind of guy, athletically, that you need at tackle."

On J.J. Holliday:
"On the field, he was as good as I've seen. If you watched any of the playoff games that went on around here, you saw that. The thing about J.J. is that he's growing all the time. I talk about what he's going to be like down the road. He's a great route runner, he's got great hands and he's a track guy. He's going to get bigger. Those are things that you've got to look at as you recruit. You're not going to get ready-made players. Nobody does. It's going to take some time. He's a guy that's going to get bigger and stronger. He loves playing the game."

On Osahon Irabor:
"He's pretty good. He's a guy that committed early to us. He was No. 1 on our board at corner from last spring. He was very heavily recruited as it was. He's a guy that might have a chance to come in and play next year."

On Anthony Jones:
"He can run. He's 210 pounds, going to be 200-and-whatever down the road, but he can run. As you look at all these guys, one basic thing that they do have, they can run fast. He's going to be an outside linebacker for us."

On Kipeli Koniseti:
"He is a guy that we knew about all the time. I watched him play. He's a guy that won a state championship, at Grant High School in Sacramento. They went down and beat Long Beach Poly for the championship. He was a quarterback, the leader of the football team. He's 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, can run, and he's played defense, he's played every place. In watching that game, he was probably the best athlete on the field. Where are we going to play him? I don't know. I do know that he's a football player, and he loves to play. We'll find a place for a guy like that. He could be a linebacker. He could be a tight end. He could be whatever, down the road. We're excited about having him."

On Kody Koebensky:
"He's a guy that we had in camp. One thing about having guys in camp is you know them. You see them. He played tackle in high school, and he could play tackle. He could very easily play tackle. He may end going down inside. A tough guy, football is important to him, and he will be a heck of an offensive lineman for us."

On Cameron Marshall:
"We had him in our camp too. Northern California player of the year. He's 210 pounds, and I would guess he'll probably end up running 10.5 100 meters, around that. We had him in camp, so we saw what he could do, catch the ball and do the different things that are necessary. A year from now, we lose three backs, so obviously that was a key area for us."

On Shane McCullen:
"Just a great athlete. You talk about a guy that wants to be here and be a Sun Devil, they all do, believe me they all do, but he's a guy that was at our camp, was at every game. He's just a great high school athlete that can run very fast. We're projecting him as a safety right now."

On Jamal Miles:
"Jamal is the kind of guy that can make big plays for you, whether it's in the running game or whether it's in the passing game. He's just a great athlete. We're going to start him at running back, but he could play a lot of places for us. He's really a good football player."

On Gregory Smith:
"He is an interesting story. I get to know these guys well. This guy is going to be a really good player for us. He's had a lot of tough things in his life and has fought through them. It's unbelievable. Here's a guy that's done a lot of things. He's played tight end and defensive end. We project him as a defensive end. He's going to get bigger and stronger. He's got a really good attitude about himself."

On Max Smith:
"You talk about a guy that wants to be here. I've watched him. This guy is just a football player. It's hard to describe. He's just a football player. He's tough. He played middle linebacker. He played tight end. He's a lot of different things. In our offense, he could be a tight end, he could be a move fullback type guy. He's a guy that could play a lot of places for us."

On William Sutton:
"He is a heck of an athlete, makes a lot of plays. You watch him play the game, and it seems like nobody ever blocks him. He's got a lot of potential."

On Fred Thornton:
"He is a guy with huge upside. Dan Cozzetto recruited Marvel Smith, and we started talking about Fred, and I said tell me what he's like, and he said he's just like Marvel coming out of high school. That was good enough for me. Like I said with the offensive front, he's a guy that it's going to take a year or two to get him going, but that's what we're doing in the offensive front here. You just don't get offensive linemen off the street, and all of a sudden they start playing. It just doesn't happen. It takes time. The guys that played last year are going to be a whole lot better this year. That's how we've got to build our offensive front, take some young guys, and they'll get better all the time. Eventually, you'll get to that point where freshmen come in and redshirt, and then you've got juniors that are playing. That's how you build a solid program for a long period of time."

On Marcus Washington:
"Marcus has been hurt off and on through his career, so people don't know a lot about him. We do know a lot about him. We've investigated him. He can run. He was a great hurdler. I think you'll see what kind of speed he has. He's 200 pounds now, and he's going to continue to get bigger. He's a guy that's got a great future."

On the class as a whole:
"Going through all those guys, they have one thing in common. They love to play the game. It's important to them. The similarity in this class to last year's class, and even the class before that, that is one thing they all have in common. I'm excited about this class. It's very comparable to a year ago."

On if Vontaze Burfict compares to past linebacker recruits he has had:
"I guess I could say Ray Lewis, but I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him. Maybe a Michael Barrow coming out, that type of guy. You watch him on tape, and watch him in the all-star game, and every time he plays, he dominates. He's a football player. When he hits you, it hurts. He's got that kind of attitude. I hate to put pressure on a freshman coming in, because it's a different game, I don't care how good you are, but this guy is pretty good. He really is. He's beyond his years."

On how they did with in-state high school players:
"We won a lot of them, and we lost some. One thing about recruiting, I've never in my life worried about who we lost, because it doesn't do you any good. What good does it do you? We lost some, but I look at the guys that we got. That's the most important thing. We're getting there. We're getting a lot of them. What did we have this year? Nine. That's pretty good. I said this when I first came here, if we can keep the talent here, and we're not going to keep them all, so I guess a better way to put it is if we can keep the majority of the players here, then we're going to win and we're going to be successful. But, as always, some guys are going to want to leave. That's just human nature."

On how the high school talent in Arizona has improved over the years:
"It's unbelievably improved. We recruited here back in 1999, 2000, when I was at Oregon State, and the talent level has really improved. There are probably 20-some players that will have scholarships, I would guess, out of here. So it's really improved. They do a great job of coaching."

On establishing a presence in certain schools, such as Centennial HS in Corona, Calif., where they got three players from last year and two this year:
"It's huge. Recruiting has a lot to do with who is here when you come on your trip or who is here. Vontaze [Burfict], let's face it, Shelly [Lyons] is sitting here, Brandon [Magee], Ryan [Bass], they talk about it. Obviously, they are very happy here, or else he wouldn't have come. It has a huge effect. It helps. It makes a big difference, wherever it is. Obviously, here in the state, and in-state, it doesn't necessarily have to be from the same school, but from this area, because they all know each other. It has a huge influence. There is no question about that. In this area, they see that we're going in the right direction here, football-wise and the whole athletic department, everything that's happening here at Arizona State. They all see that. The players that are here brag about it, so that just increases our chances and it will continue to increase our chances as time goes on."