Bahn: Freeze Recruiting Plan For ASU Not Easy To Define, But Has Worked Before

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2011 1:00 pm  

ASU coach Hugh Freeze can't easily boil down his recruiting philosophy, but it's proven to be effective. (Photo by Ashley George)

Orgeron and his assistants, including Freeze, secured a Top 15 class in 2006 and a couple of Top 30 classes. That 2006 group included two five-star prospects and seven four-star players, the foundation for Rebels teams that went to consecutive Cotton Bowls in 2008 and 2009 under Houston Nutt.

Players in that 2006 class included defensive lineman Greg Hardy, wide receiver/running back Dexter McCluster, offensive lineman John Jerry and athletes Casius Vaughn and Allen Walker. Those players were highly regarded and speak to that staff’s ability to sell recruits.

If you’re looking for examples of Freeze’s ability to evaluate under-the-radar guys, Ole Miss starting tackle Bradley Sowell and Lambauth wide receiver Roderick Jefferson are as good as any. Neither received great attention out of high school, but both are tabbed as NFL possibilities – Jefferson in 2011 and Sowell in 2012.

Naturally, the Red Wolves will be targeting a different caliber of prospect than a SEC school. But Freeze sees no reason his program can’t compete with schools in Conference USA and the WAC. Those are the caliber of players he envisions luring to ASU and the school’s success in sending players to the NFL — five years and counting with Derek Newton a strong possibility to become a sixth this week – make it a more attractive option than some recruits might realize, Freeze believes.

Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin worked with Freeze at Ole Miss. What they learned from Orgeron was invaluable and can be boiled down to this: “It’s about the Billy’s and Joes,” Kiffin said. “It’s about who you can get. We’ll be recruiting year-round. That’s what you have to do to win.”

Freeze’s plan has only been in place since December. But if Kiffin’s comments are any indication, the Red Wolves staff gets it, even if they can’t easily define “It.”



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