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QUOTES: #SunDevilsSign13 Press Conference
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/06/2013
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Feb. 6, 2013

Head coach Todd Graham

Signing Day

Opening statement...

"I want to start off and thank our president, our faculty, our staff and our professors that offered their Saturday's to come up. Our academic staff, which is tremendous here, does a great job of hosting and educating our recruits on our academics. One of the things I'm as proud of as anything is the improvement we've made in our academics. We've gone to a 2.55 team GPA. I think that's the best semester we've had in history since they have been counting. The last eleven years it is. I'm really proud of our academic support and the relationship we have with them is very unique and what makes this place special. Jean Boyd is the person that heads that up and has been an invaluable asset to us. I want to thank our recruiting staff; Bo Graham, his crew back there and the job that they have done on campus.

"Last but not least is our coaching staff. This is something that requires an enormous amount of time.  A lot of passion goes in to this. Recruiting is not about a sales-pitch. It's about evaluation. It's about work. It's about being diligent. It's about building a relationship. Our staff, whether it be our academic staff or our football staff, represents our university the way it should be represented and that's with class and character and going by the rules. I'm really grateful to them.

"Our wives and our families, I know that as soon as we finished that bowl game, most people don't realize we were right back on the road recruiting, staying in hotel rooms every night. It's a big sacrifice that our wives and our families go through. One of the things that I do with my little ten-year-old is pray with him every night. His prayers have been consumed with who's coming to play for the Sun Devils.

"I'm honored to work in the group of men that I work with here. Being a Sun Devil is being part of a family. I've been in an awful lot of homes, met an awful lot of parents and relatives. I love recruiting. I love meeting people. I can remember how this game gave me the opportunity to change my life and get an education and what a great opportunity that is.

"I want to wish every young man that didn't come to Arizona State the very, very best in his future. I really mean that. I got to meet some really neat and special people.

"The last group that I want to talk about before we get started talking about this class is our existing players. These guys are probably the best recruiting tool that we have. You reap what you sow. I think we have sown some really solid relationships here. We have a group of young men here that really believe. I'd say there's not a person in our program that that isn't "All In" with what we're doing and how we go about doing it. We have our challenges just like any family, but I'm very proud of these guys. I'm proud that they do things with class and character as well. 

"I think the key in this recruiting class is it's about bringing the right people. Football is a developmental sport. There was no game played today. People get the opportunity to pick and choose players and in all of the years that I have been coaching, this is the most impressed that I have been going into the living room of the guys that we have committed. We have six players that are Barrett College caliber students and are phenomenal. The character and the stories of overcoming obstacles to accomplish the things in their lives are just tremendous. That's what a team is. A team is not just about talent. It's not just about how many stars a person has and what you see out there. If you put a team together, it's very important that you look at the character, at the attitude, the relationships, what is this person all about, because there is a certain fit. I have to tell you I was so pleased.  I go in to every home of a person that is going to sign here and I've been so impressed.

"I want to thank our very special boosters that help us with airplane travel. I've got some interesting stories on that this trip. I'm thankful to be here. I do thank our boosters that have really helped us be able to recruit in a way that helps us be competitive. Without their support, we would not have been able to sign some of the guys that we signed in this class.

"What's our philosophy on recruiting? Go from the inside out. It's to start right here in this valley and build relationships. I want to thank the high school coaches. We started to develop relationships in this valley and in this state. I think the coaches know that they can trust us with their kids. I spent an extensive amount of time in southern and northern California. We obviously want to recruit nation-wide but I feel good about the young men that we have added in this class. 

"In many of the situations, you're not going to win every single battle. My prayer every year is that I end up coaching the guys that I'm supposed to coach and if one is supposed to go somewhere they go somewhere else. I wish them the very best. I think that is very important because not everybody is a fit that is right for everywhere."

On signing junior college players...
"We are going to recruit the best, brightest, the best character, and the best football players period. We have 16 guys graduating on the defensively side of the football next year. I think we can sign the best junior college players in the country. We have the opportunity and the ability to attract the best junior college players in California and Arizona. I will just point to this year, and the success that we had being able to bring in those guys in and transition them. I don't think every staff can do that. I'm looking for men that fit our program and have a burning desire to succeed and embrace what we are all about."

On getting the right guys...
"We don't just look at film and offer scholarships. We access and evaluate our existing personnel. I am the personnel director, and involved in every aspect. We want to be the smartest in the league. The thing that was concerning to us, is the 16 players graduating just on the defensive side of football. So that's why you see 15 defensive players signed in this class. Our junior class was a big part of it."

On no quarterbacks being signed in the last two seasons...
"Obviously that wasn't the plan. I wish everybody the very best. You don't win every battle, and can't get every kid. All we can do is do things the right way, and that's what we did. We are sitting great at quarterback. We have a tremendous young man in Taylor Kelly and we have Mike Eubank and Mike Bercovici. Everybody analyzed that talk about this guy and that guy is going to transfer. I think it's sad that people do that. But with all three of those guys, we are fine. It will be something that we will look at to bring someone in here."

On the defensive signing class...
"We talk about our defense. We are going to play defense at Arizona State. If you are going to win a championship, all you have to do is look at the team that won the championship last year. We were second in the league in total defense. The team that was first in the league in total defense won the league. That's something that we have taken great pride in. I think in one year we've established ourselves as one of the dominating defenses in the country and especially this conference. When it comes to attacking, sacking the quarterback. TFL's, we had 117 TL's in one season. It's just exciting defensive play. Our goal defensively, every year is to over sign defensive linemen, over sign people that can affect the quarterback."

On Chans Cox... 
"He chose ASU over just about every other college in the country; Notre Dame was one that was the biggest competition. I think we signed the best player in the state that fits us, and that's Chans Cox. I'm very excited about him. He has unbelievable athleticism and the biggest thing is the character of this man and the leadership that he provides. He epitomizes everything we want in a player."

On Marcus Hardison...
"Marcus is one of the top defensive ends in America. He's a guy that our fans are going to love in a hurry. The thing that attracted him was that we are one of the best in the country at getting after the quarterback. We think he'll have immediate impact here."

On Demetrius Cherry...
"He will be an inside guy, but also can play outside the defensive end. He's one of the best junior college defensive linemen in the country."

On Kisima Jagne...
"He's one of the most dynamic players that I've seen on the film and how he fits our system. Another guy that we think is explosive."

On Corey Smith...
"Corey will be a three-technique inside guy. He is one of the guys that is a jewel in this class, that we are absolutely ecstatic to have."

On Antonio Longino...
"Antonio is one of the top junior college linebackers in the country. He gives us an increased height and size as a linebacker, and he has tremendous explosive power blitzing off the edge."

On Jayme Otomewo...
"Jayme is a boundary safety for us. He was very impressive in the Semper Fi game. He will be very physical."

On Damarious Randall...
"He led the nation in interceptions, which obviously was one of the first things that stuck out to us. We think he can come in and be impactful in the cornerback or safety position."

On William Earley...
"Will's a guy from my hometown that we're excited to have. He's one of the top players coming out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area that really fits what we do in this program."

On Solomon Means...
"To listen to this guy's story and hear the heart that he has is phenomenal. He's a winner in every way."

On Marlon Pollard...
"We added him this semester. He was a four star cornerback coming out of high school that's going to be a great football player for us."

On Lloyd Carrington...
"He played for me as a true freshman and had to sit out in the fall, but is going to be a great player for us."

On Nick Begg...
"He's another great man that will enroll in January of next year.  He's a California player that we think is going to be a tremendous lineman for us at the defensive end."

On the offensive signing class...
"Our number one offensive goal was dynamic players at wide receiver. That was our number one focus coming in and we wanted to create depth at the offensive line."

On Jaelen Strong...
"He's the most dynamic receiver I've seen in a long time on film. Our fans will love this guy."

On Cameron Smith...
"Cameron has tremendous character and is another Barrett college caliber student athlete. He picked our school over big 12, big 10, SEC offers. He's a big time deep threat, a guy who can stress the field vertically, a guy who is a dynamic wide receiver, so we're excited about Cameron."

On Joseph Morris...
"One of the most physical wide receivers in the country. We think he will be a very great pack with what we are doing."

On Ronald Lewis...
"You'll see with watching his film that he is one of the most dynamic play makers in return game. When the ball is in his hand he is electrifying."

On Ellis Jefferson...
"He is a guy that comes in and knows what it takes to win."

On De'Marieya Nelson...
"De'Marieya is tailor made for our three back position. This guy can play running back...he also can play a tight end and he can also play an inside receiver. He is one of the best chasing tight ends in the country and a guy that is going to be very impactful with what we are doing."

On Grant Martinez...
"Grant's dad went to school here, so obviously loves the Suns Devils and is guy that we think is going to be in the lines of Chris Coyle, except he is a few inches taller. We are really excited about Grant and what he can do."

On Jack Powers...
"He had tremendous offers and came here. He has a great character and is another Barrett college caliber student."

On Nick Kelly...
"If Nick had played another year in junior college he would be one of the highest rated centers in the country. It was very important for us to sign an offensive lineman that could come in and be ready to play quickly at center."

On Christian Westerman...
"Christian is going to be a tremendous player for us, very physical, very dominating. He says very few words and works tremendously. He was obviously the number one player in the state in 2011."

On Matt Haack...
"We had to sign a punter and we were able to sign, I think, one of the best that I've seen in a long time. This guy will not only punt, he can play wide receiver for us. Great athlete, he is a rugby style punter. He can punt the ball in all directions."

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