Local students headline Sun Devil football's early signing period
Five student-athletes have signed scholarship agreements to study and participate in football at Arizona State University, head coach Todd Graham announced.
"One thing we take great pride in is signing the best, the brightest, the toughest and the hardest working guys from right here in Arizona," coach Graham said. "Our plan for here is inside out - that's from the Phoenix Valley and out across the rest of the state. Being close to home is important for these local guys, but we understand that at the same time, we have to provide a program that offers what these young people want," coach Graham said. "We are ready to provide that. We want the best, the brightest, the toughest, the guys with the best character - the best football players - to be able to stay right here at home at ASU. That's the key to winning championships for us."
All five members of the class, which includes two freshmen, two sophomore and a junior, will participate in spring practice. Westerman, who is transferring from Auburn, is arguably the highest-ranked recruit in Arizona State football history as ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc. pegged him as the sixth-best player in the nation coming out of high school.
LB - FR - 6-3 - 230
Lakeside, Ariz./Blue Ridge HS
One of Arizona's most versatile football players, he excelled at linebacker, running back and also punted in high school...Will play linebacker at ASU...Will graduate early from Blue Ridge and enroll at ASU for the spring semester...Will participate in spring drills...One of the top overall prospects in the state of Arizona this year...Rated by Rivals.com as the nation's 150 overall prospect, the No. 13 outside linebacker recruit and the No. 3 overall prospect in the state of Arizona...Evaluated by Scout.com as a fullback and was rated the top national recruit at the position as well as the No. 148 overall prospect...Regarded as a four-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com...Blue Ridge compiled a 40-2 during the 2010-12 seasons with three state championship game appearances and a state title in 2011...Helped lead Blue Ridge to a 14-1 record and a state championship game appearance in 2012...Was an All-State recipient as a junior in 2011 after posting 61 tackles while also rushing for 682 yards and 16 total touchdowns...Helped guide Blue Ridge to a 14-0 record and the state championship in 2011...Earned All-State and All-Region honors as a sophomore in 2010 after recording 86 tackles and 8.0 sacks...Blue Ridge posted a 12-1 record his sophomore season...Chose ASU over reported scholarship offers from schools including Arizona, Arkansas, Boise State, California, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, USC, Utah, Washington and Washington State...Verbally committed to ASU on June 13, 2012... "[ASU's coaches] are really instilling discipline and character in the program and that is something that means a whole lot to me. I really love the coaching staff as well and they always impress me when I visit with them. I'm proud to be an in-state guy committing to ASU and I'm happy that I get to play close to my family and friends and have a great fan base that will always be behind me. It's going to be a great journey and I'm excited to take part of it."...Verbally committed to ASU on June 13, 2012...Coached by Paul Moro at Blue Ridge High. "Chans had an opportunity to go anywhere in the country and he came here," coach Graham said. "I think that has a lot to do with what our program is about. He's big, fast, strong and versatile, and he's going to be a guy that will be impactful to our program in a hurry. We signed DJ (Foster) and Jaxon (Hood), who were two of the best players in the state last year, and then to add Chans, who is one of the top guys in Arizona this season, is something we're very proud of. His size, his speed and his character are things that really separate him, but it is the leadership that we think he can provide that really gets us excited. "
DL - FR - 6-5 - 275
Chandler, Ariz./Chandler HS
A 2012 graduate of Chandler (Ariz.) High School...Signed with Colorado in February 2012 but opted to delay his enrollment...Will begin classes at ASU in January and will participate in spring drills...Is eligible to play in 2013 and will have five years to play four...Has an excellent frame to compete for time in ASU's defensive line rotation...As a senior in 2011 he was ranked one of the top players in Arizona by most of the recruiting sites, including No. 6 by ESPN.com, No. 9 by Rivals and No. 13 by SuperPrep...Rivals also had him as the No. 28 strong side defensive end nationally, while ESPN.com ranked him as the No. 52 defensive end and Scout.com at No. 54....A second-team All-Arizona Division I selection both his junior and senior years along with being named first-team All-Division I Section II both seasons...Averaged over 10 tackles per game as a senior and finished the season with 10 quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries (he also blocked two punts on special teams)...Top two prep games came against rival Hamilton, as he combined for 33 tackles and five sacks...as a junior, he finished the season with 71 tackles and 17 sacks to go along with two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries...Along with the punt and field goal block teams, he also played on the kickoff return team that season...Played his freshman and sophomore years at Chavez High School, earning two letters and starting as a sophomore...Also lettered in basketball, averaging 14.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a senior, when he had 74 blocked shots in 27 games; he shot 55.7 percent from the field and had a season-high 28 points against Casa Grande...Earned second-team All-Arizona honors as a junior at Chandler and was fourth-team All-Arizona as a sophomore at Chavez, where he helped his team to two regional championships as a freshman and sophomore; Chandler advanced to the conference playoffs his junior year....Born October 30, 1993 in Phoenix...His cousin, Kenny Wheaton, played football at Oregon and was a third round draft pick by Dallas in the 1997 NFL Draft and played three seasons with the Cowboys (he also played Arena Football and in the Canadian Football League, including a brief stint with the Colorado Crush in the AFL)...Another cousin, Derrek Wheaton, signed to play football at Oregon, but was killed in a drive-by shooting prior to attending the school; the Arizona Junior High Basketball Tournament MVP honors are named in his honor...Another cousin, Marquese Wheaton, recently finished his college career as a defensive back at Southern Mississippi while another cousin, Markus Wheaton, was a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection in 2012 as a senior for Oregon State...Name pronounced "Kiz-ma Jag-knee"...As a high school senior he also had reported scholarship offers from Arizona, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State...Coached by Shaun Aguano at Chandler High School.
"Kisima, who is another local product, is a guy that fits our hybrid system because, among other things, his great ability to rush the passer," coach Graham said. "It's all about getting the right fit and we think he has great promise. He's played in a system that had him blitzing from inside and outside, and he's big enough to play defensive end. Getting him in the spring is important and we think he can really develop into something special."
OL - SO - 6-3 - 280
Orangevale, Calif./Casa Roble HS/American River College
A 2012 graduate of American River College in Sacramento, Calif....Graduated from Orangevale (Calif.) Casa Roble High School...Brings a year of junior college playing experience to Tempe but maintains four years to play three for the Sun Devils...Will begin classes at ASU in January and will participate in spring drills...Joins American River teammate Josh Tremblay among ASU's Class of 2013 midyear signees ...Adds a valuable presence at center which also allows ASU's coaches to rotate other linemen throughout the interior line positions...Combines power, athleticism and versatility to give ASU a promising offensive line contributor...Chose ASU over offers from Nevada and Wyoming...Verbally committed to ASU on Dec. 16, 2012..."I loved my trip to Arizona State so it was an easy decision. The facilities really impressed me on the visit and I had a good time hanging out with the players there. They were great guys. The Arizona State coaches like my leadership and my athleticism. They also like how I can call the protection and call the keys. They feel that I can really help the team."...Coached by Norman Ryan at Casa Roble and by Jerry Haflich at American River.
OL - JR - 6-4 - 280
Napa, Calif./Vintage HS/American River College
A 2012 graduate of American River College in Sacramento, Calif...Graduated from Vintage High School in Napa, Calif... joins American River teammate Nick Kelly among ASU's Class of 2013 midyear signees...Will have three years to play two starting in 2013 and will participate in spring drills...Has the ability to play multiple line positions and is regarded as having tremendous physical strength and versatility...Verbally committed to ASU on Dec. 17, 2012...Chose ASU over Fresno State and New Mexico... "I loved the town and the environment there. The whole area was very nice and people were friendly there. That was probably the best part of my visit. The campus and facilities were top of the line. The thing that I was impressed the most with was the stadium. Walking out onto the field was awesome."....Coached by Billy Smith at Vintage High and by Jerry Haflich at American River.
"Adding both Nick (Kelly) and Josh (Tremblay) not only gives us more depth at offensive line, but it allows us to be more flexible and creative in how we utilize our guys up front," coach Graham said. "Nick is a true center and is someone who understands the game very well and can come in right away and compete. Josh is versatile and can play guard or tackle, and obviously he has great size and a toughness that you can't teach."
OL - RS-SO - 6-4 - 303
Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton High School/Auburn
Will enroll at ASU for the spring semester and will participate in spring football drills...Originally signed with Auburn out of Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton High School in 2011...Redshirted in 2011...Was limited due to an injury in 2012 but appeared in two games with one start at left guard...Has the ability to play either guard or tackle...Can bench press over 500 pounds...One of the most sought after high school football recruits in Arizona history...widely regarded as a five-star prospect as a high school senior and is one of the most highly rated recruits ever to join the Sun Devil football program...Was the top recruit in the state of Arizona his senior year ...Named the nation's No. 2 offensive tackle and the No. 6 player nationally by ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc....Ranked as the nation's No. 1 offensive guard and the No. 17 player in the nation by Scout.com...Remains the top rated offensive high school prospect from Arizona since Scout.com began its ratings in 2002...Rated as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the nation, the No. 1 recruit from Arizona and the No. 26 player overall nationally by 247Sports...Listed as the nation's No. 3 offensive tackle, the No. 1 player in the state of Arizona and the No. 27 player in the nation overall by Rivals.com.. Ranked as the nation's No. 5 offensive tackle and the No. 16 overall prospect in the MaxPreps Top 100...Named to the PrepStar Dream Team as the No. 8-ranked player in the nation ... Named an All-American, the nation's No. 2 offensive lineman and the No. 2 recruit from Arizona by SuperPrep, and the No. 21 overall player nationally in the SuperPrep Elite 50...Selected to play in the 2011 Under Armour All-American game following his senior season...Named to USA Today's All-USA first team offense...Listed on Associated Press' Top 25 best players in the West Helped lead his team to back to back undefeated junior and senior year seasons with an overall record of 29-0... Earned All-Arizona honors by the Arizona Republic in 2009 and 2010...Was a teammate of Sun Devils Jaxon Hood and Anthony Jones at Hamilton High...Was a starter on three consecutive state champion teams for the Huskies ...had a multitude of scholarship offers as a senior at Hamilton High including ones from schools such as Alabama, California, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, UCLA and USC in addition to ASU and Auburn...born Feb. 23, 1993...Son of Christian Westerman, Sr. and Jodie Westerman..."We're excited to be back home and be part of the Sun Devil nation," Westerman's father said. "The momentum of this program is unbelievable. I like everything that [Coach Graham is] about which is hard work and accountability, stuff that Christian is used to."...Coached by Steve Belles at Hamilton High School.
"We're excited to add Christian, who is one of the best players to have come out of this state in a while," coach Graham said. "When it comes to recruiting, the one thing that you cannot replace is family and what it means. What our program stands for now - character and class - you can stay right here at home and do everything you want to do. That's compete for a Pac-12 championship, as well as nationally, and also be proud of the team you're apart of. I think Christian said that he's gotten more love in the past two days than he got two years somewhere else. That right there tells you a lot about the importance of the community our student-athletes compete in. We're thrilled to bring one of the best in the state back home."