ASU football looks to continue success with junior college transfers

Junior college transfers are a gamble. They are often expected to make an immediate impact, and schools will usually only have them for a couple years.

ASU football head coach Todd Graham has never been shy about plugging juco transfers into his system.

This year, ASU has been looking at junior colleges for future playmakers more than it ever has. Four of the top 10 overall juco prospects named by Rivals.com have not committed yet, and all four have received offers from ASU.

Two of those prospects, defensive end Marquavius Lewis from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and linebacker Davon Durant from Butler County Community College in Kansas, visited ASU in June.

It’s no mystery why ASU views junior college transfers as hot commodities. The Sun Devils have had a string of success with them recently.

Just last season, redshirt junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong caught 75 passes for a team-leading and fifth-most in the history of the program 1,122 yards with seven touchdowns. Strong spent the previous two years with Pierce College in Los Angeles.

The team leader in tackles last season, linebacker Chris Young, was also a junior college transfer. Young totaled 194 tackles in his two seasons with ASU, 112 in his senior year, after playing at Arizona Western College.

Redshirt senior safety Damarious Randall played at Mesa Community College before joining ASU last season. Randall finished the year tied with the third most tackles on the team with 71, to go along with three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Randall, who played baseball at Butler Community College just three years ago, will be the unquestioned leader of the Sun Devil defense next fall.

Speaking of next fall, expect to see a few more juco transfers make a name for themselves this upcoming season, including another wide receiver hoping to follow in Strong’s footsteps.

The 6-foot-2 Eric Lauderdale, who accumulated 114 receptions for 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons at Saddleback College in California, could make the ASU passing attack that much more deadly.

On the defensive side of the ball, ASU is bringing Dalvon Stuckey, the top juco defensive tackle prospect according to Rivals. The defense will also be bolstered by Darrius Caldwell, who will likely play the hybrid linebacker and defensive end Devilbacker role. Stuckey and Caldwell both attended Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.

Not only has ASU been able to recruit the top junior college prospects, but it has been able to pry them from the clutches of the biggest football programs in the country. Lauderdale, Stuckey and Caldwell chose ASU over schools such as Florida, Auburn and South Carolina.

 

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo