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3 Recruiting Q&As: ASU, Fresno, Georgia, NW

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 21, 2014


3 Recruiting Q&As with Scout's Arizona State, Fresno State, Georgia, Northwestern

3 Recruiting Questions With Scout Publishers
- Auburn, Illinois, Hawaii | Alabama, Duke, Idaho
- Florida, Boise State, Arkansas, Ball State, Georgia Tech
- Arizona State, Fresno State, Georgia, Northwestern
- East Carolina, Kansas, Miami Univ. | BYU, Purdue, Nevada
- LSU, Rutgers, Southern Miss | - Oregon, Texas State, West Virginia
- Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State
Arizona State
For more, go to DevilsDigest.com

1) What’s Todd Graham’s big recruiting pitch to try to beat UCLA, USC and Arizona in the South?

From Hod Rabino, DevilsDigest.com - ASU is coming of a 10-win season and a Pac-12 South championship, but isn't a squad full of veterans, especially on defense so there is a lot of opportunity for early playing time. Additionally, these players will be playing is a renovated Sun Devil Stadium once they are upperclassmen, and for a program that has been trending upward over the last couple of years.

2) Did the blowout losses to Stanford and Texas Tech to close things out affect anything this recruiting season?

So far they haven't. ASU is hovering around 11th place nationally for weeks now and its class is still first in the Pac-12. They are in good position to land a couple more four-star players and overall address a lot of needs with recruits who can make an immediate impact in 2014.

3) What’s the No. 1 need the team needs to fill?

It would really be No. 1 and 1a with offensive tackle and Devil linebacker, which is ASU’s hybrid linebacker/defensive end role.

Fresno State
For more, go to BulldogPlaybook.com

1) Is the coaching staff doing anything to specifically address the defense for next year?

Jackson Moore, BulldogPlaybook.com - Tim DeRuyter’s coaching staff made a colossal turnaround to the defense in their first season, but lack of depth at the cornerback position led to a step back in 2013. The coaching staff has an eye for athletes they feel they can develop into effective cover corners. The Bulldogs have added a mid-year junior college transfer in Stratton Brown and have big plans for 6-foot-2 commit Malcolm Washington who was primarily recruited at receiver, but plans to come in to Fresno State cornerback.

Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Nick Toth hopes to add to his defense with a big class of linebackers. The Bulldogs have four linebackers currently committed led by three-star Michael Lazarus, but are in the hunt for several more. Four-star Chandller Leniu is considering the Bulldogs after decommitting from Washington State and three other three-star linebackers have Fresno State in their top schools in January.

2) What is helping more with the recruiting pitch, the Mountain West title or the explosive offensive numbers?

Definitely the Mountain West title. Many recruits have pointed to Fresno State's 10-0 start and conference title as what really caught their attention. The gameday experience at Bulldog Stadium was the best it had been in several years and left an impression on many visitors. DeRuyter’s staff was able to get the roster they inherited to buy-in to their philosophies to earn back-to-back Mountain West titles and create a family environment. The Bulldogs’ offense will likely have a different attack without Derek Carr and the numbers that the offense put up in 2013 will be hard to ever replicate.

3) What’s the No. 1 need the team needs to fill?

Despite major losses at quarterback, wide receiver, and the defensive line, along with depth issues at cornerback, the Bulldogs appear to have likely replacements already on the roster rather than depending on immediate help from this recruiting class. The biggest need that the team has to fill is to find a unit of reliable defensive backs because Fresno State won’t have the weapons on offense to make up for the struggles in the secondary like it did in 2013.

Georgia
For more, go to DawgPost.com

1) Is there any fear of Hot Seat status for Mark Richt? He has lasted this long, but is there any sense that other programs are using it against Georgia?

Dean Legge, DawgPost.com - The only people obsessed with the "hot seat" and Mark Richt are people who are uninformed - which is the vast majority of the media. Richt is not on the hot seat. Will Muschamp is on the hot seat. Big difference.

2) All the injuries last season helped several young players get meaningful time. Any worries from recruits that it’ll be hard to get time right away?

Not really. I think everyone watching TV, including recruits, could see how young Georgia was on the defensive side of the ball. I think recruits see that as a quick opportunity to get onto the field. Defensive recruits will find it much easier to get on the field with the exception of the two running backs Georgia will sign. But Georgia is going from being very young everywhere to pretty old everywhere because of the returning injured players on offense.

3) What’s the No. 1 need the team needs to fill?

The Bulldogs need a backup QB, which they've got for sure in Brice Ramsey, and they need some help at running back for Todd Gurley, which they have in the form of a returning-from-injury Keith Marshall and both Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. It will still be the Todd Gurley Show on offense, but it won't be a one-man show any more.

Northwestern
For more, go to PurpleWildcats.com

1) Did last year’s clunker matter on the recruiting trail? Has anything changed from the coaching staff’s recruiting pitch?

Nicholas Medline, PurpleWildcats.com - No one expected 1-7 from Northwestern. The majority of its 2014 recruiting class joined the program after NU's impressive 10-win season—with more success expected to come. Though the Wildcats lost three players to decommitments, the core of their class remained intact. They held onto Scout top 300 players Justin Jackson and Parrker Westphal, with Clayton Thorson expected to be a standout player at quarterback or wide receiver. Better, they had backup plans. When defensive end commit Noah Westerfield opted to visit Cal, NU snapped up a sleeper backup (James Prather) within the day.

As for the 2015 class, they're just moving slower. They still have the same ambitions, believing that the '13 season was a fluke–it was in many ways–and that they can snag a mixture of local studs, four-star guys and sleeper recruits.

2) Is Pat Fitzgerald’s status and tenure opening more doors? Or, is there a concern that he might be gone at the next huge job opportunity?

Two things: First, Fitzgerald still has something to prove at Northwestern. He has been excellent in his time, recruiting better and leading his team to some excellent seasons. There's no reason, though, for the team to tank as it did last season. The Wildcats need more consistent results, but there's no reason to think Fitzgerald can't lead them back to prominence. Second, he's the perfect guy for this program. It's all about character for Fitzgerald, and he holds true to that in every single way. And, really, kids cite "coaching stability" as one of the primary reasons behind their commitment more often than not. He'll be around for another handful of years, if not more.

3) What’s the No. 1 need the program needs to address with this recruiting class?

For the '15 class, they'll need to build backup plans at the linebacker position. The Wildcats lost starting middle linebacker Damien Proby to graduation after last season, with other starters Collin Ellis and Chi Chi Ariguzo gone following this year. It's not urgent–especially not if current projects like Anthony Walker excel–but they'll want to add some talented players as insurance. Also, the other key thing to recognize about this recruiting strategy is the staff's obsession with a "stable" of running backs. They like using them in a variety of ways, and last season exposed the need for depth there. Overall, though, I can't say that I expect much drop off in their recruiting success.