ASU football should be able to attract top recruits

The University does not draw in the top talent it should

Many top high school football recruits do not come to ASU, which is hard to believe. 

With ever-present sunshine, first-class amenities and one of the largest student bodies for public universities in the U.S., ASU should attract more elite players, but that is unfortunately not the case. 

ASU lacks the tradition and consistent periods of winning top football schools like Alabama, USC and Ohio State, to name a few. 

“People who grow up (by those top colleges) don’t think about going to ASU,” Chris Karpman, publisher of SunDevilSource.com for CBS Sports on the 247Sports/Scout Network, said. “ASU isn’t sending its staff to those places. What I’ve seen historically when ASU does try to get a kid from those areas is that they don’t get him.”

Aside from Pat Tillman’s legacy and Frank Kush’s storied tenure as head coach, ASU does not have much for fans to get behind. 

They have never won a national championship. They have never had a Heisman trophy winner, and they do not typically compete for the Pac-12 championship. 

Average fans probably find it difficult to jump on the ASU bandwagon because the school has no significant track record of success for them to see. 

“If you’re ASU, it’s a fact you’re not going to be successful if you don’t get a majority of top kids in the valley,” Karpman said. “ASU could do that if it had that tradition, but it doesn’t.”

The state of Arizona produces more talented players every year, but a fair amount of Arizona products opt to play out of state where they will have a better chance of winning. 

ASU’s lack of a winning culture is a deterrent for those players. 

A lot of players tend to go to schools near their hometown. California, for example, is home to multiple elite football programs and is the next state over from Arizona, so it is not unrealistic for players to move to The Golden State, compete at high levels and still be relatively close to home and their families. 

The same theory applies to other football hotbeds.

A top player from Columbus, Ohio, is most likely going to want to attend Ohio State rather than ASU, much like a huge recruit from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who will probably want to join the Crimson Tide instead of becoming a Sun Devil. That is just the way it works. 

However, one big signing could make a huge difference. If ASU could attract and sign a top recruit, whether they are from metro-Phoenix or somewhere else in the country, it could lead to a domino effect of signings. 

While many players like playing close to home, a lot of players also like to play with and for the best teams possible, so an elite player leading a talented group of Sun Devils would be a nice selling point for other recruits. 

Although it would not be easy to lure a top player to the desert if he is not from the southwest, it is something that could dramatically change ASU’s football landscape. 

One big-time player having success donning maroon and gold and drawing attention to Sun Devil football could be quite appealing, and it is only a matter of time before such a transcendent player comes along to lead ASU to the promised land.  

There is no easy solution to altering ASU’s reputation as a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team, but there is no reason ASU cannot become a top team in the country for years to come.

ASU does not have the tradition and historical success of Division I powerhouses, but the other aspects of the school should be enough to entice dominant recruits. 


Reach the columnist at Steven.Slobodzian@asu.edu or follow @PSlobodzianASU on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. 

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