Arizona State football recruiting 2014: Sun Devils on the verge of signing a deep class

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Devils are recruiting better under Todd Graham, as their 2014 class illustrates.

Arizona State's 2014 class represents a moderate step forward for a program that has consistently recruited in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in recent years. As a whole, the collection of talent is solid but unspectacular. The Sun Devils have commitments from 28 prospects, including eight four-star prospects, 19 three-star prospects and one two-star prospect.

Arizona State's class at a glance
Total commits Five-star prospects Four-star prospects
28 0 8

Update, Feb. 5: Three-star JuCo defensive end Darrius Caldwell is going to Arizona State, picking them over South Carolina.

Arizona State's most highly rated recruit is four-star outside linebacker Derik Calhoun of El Cerrito (Calif.) High School. Calhoun committed to the Sun Devils on Oct. 27 over offers from UCLA, USC, Miami, Nebraska and Washington. He is the No. 12 outside linebacker and the No. 183 overall prospect in the country according to the 247Sports Composite index. SB Nation recruiting analyst Derrell Warren describes Calhoun as an explosive and physical linebacker recruit could take another step forward by refining his skills:

Calhoun displays a great short area burst and explosive, violent hands when disengaging from blockers. He tracks the ball well and is explosive on contact. Although he does well in tight areas shedding offensive linemen, he needs to become more adept at slipping blockers. This is primarily due to the fact that his strength likely won't translate as well once he gets to the next level.

Calhoun doesn't always take the most efficient routes to the ball when defending perimeter runs, but his play speed and short-area burst usually compensate for any false steps. He is a powerful tackler who plays with great leverage. He uses his powerful core strength to drive through ball carriers, surrendering very little yards after contact.

One of Calhoun's high school teammates at El Cerrito is four-star wide receiver Jalen Harvey, who flipped from Cal to Arizona State on Oct. 21. Harvey also had offers from Oregon, UCLA, Tennessee, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State. He is the 36th-best wide receiver prospect and the 272nd overall prospect in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite index. Warren says Harvey is dangerous with the ball in his hands and should be able to make an impact for ASU right away:

Harvey has elite level ball skills -- some of the best of any recruit this cycle. He is excellent at contorting his body in mid-air to make circus catches. Not only he is an explosive leaper, but he times his jumps well. Combining that, along with his strong hands and high point skills, he's nearly unstoppable on contested throws.

As an open field runner Harvey is elusive. He's not a blazer, but doesn't do a ton of dancing or waste lateral movements. He eludes defenders with change of direction and vertical cuts.

Harvey is a bit raw as a route runner at this stage. That's most likely due in no small part to him being used all over field by his high school team as opposed to being able to focus on the nuances of any specific position. But he does have a good sense of pace and timing when getting into his routes.

Joining Harvey at the head of Arizona State's 2014 wide receiver class is four-star prospect Tyler Whiley of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral. At 6'1, 190, Whiley is the No. 26 receiver prospect according to the 247Sports Composite index and the 174th-ranked overall prospect in the 2014 recruiting cycle. He committed to the Sun Devils on July 23 over offers from USC, Arizona, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, UCLA, and Washington.

The Sun Devils added a third four-star receiver late in the cycle, as Eric Lauderdale committed to the Sun Devils on January 24. Lauderdale, a JUCO transfer from Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif., chose Arizona State over Nebraska, Oregon and Florida. He also held offers from Arkansas, Cal, Miami, Tennessee, Washington, and a host of others. Lauderdale is ranked as the No. 3 JUCO wide receiver prospect in the 2014 class.

Over the past several years, Arizona State's recruiting efforts have been right at or just below average in the Pac-12. Head coach Todd Graham's recruiting haul in his second full year in Phoenix represents the best crop of new Sun Devils since ASU finished No. 7 in the Pac-12 and 31st nationally in 2010. In the final couple of days before Signing Day, the Sun Devils are ranked fourth in the conference and No. 22 nationally.

Because the state of Arizona isn't exactly teeming with high school football talent, each year a plurality of the Sun Devils' signees hail from California. That trend continued in 2014, with ASU bringing in 11 of its 25 verbal commits so far from the Golden State.

The Sun Devils still have a chance to expand on their class -- three-star offensive tackle Kenyon Frison is one of numerous prospects across the nation who'll be announcing their college choices on Signing Day. Frison is also considering Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Arizona State loaded up on defensive talent in this cycle, landing seven defensive backs, five defensive linemen, and a pair of linebackers. On offense, the Sun Devils focused primarily on skill position talent, bringing in just two three-star offensive linemen.

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