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August 6, 2011

Broussard, Sun Devils setting recruiting benchmarks

After Arizona State announced its smallest signing day class in at least a decade in February, the Sun Devils have turned the page, reaching new heights in their recruiting operation.

With just 15 graduating seniors, ASU's 2011 class was invariably going to be small, but it consisted of just 14 recruits on signing day. Six prospects were signed subsequent to that date, an unusually high number regardless of circumstances.

Six months later and things couldn't be more diametrically opposed.

Through the beginning of August in the 2012 class, ASU had not only tripled its school record for most ever commitments by the 1st of the month with 21 pledges -- it is now up to 22 in a count that seemingly grows by the week -- but also made Pac-12 history, besting the previous record held UCLA, which had 20 commitments by the date in the 2008 class.

The haul, which includes three four-star prospects and nine of California's Top-100 overall prospects, has caught the attention of recruiting services and other media outlets.

When asked about the newfound success in early cycle recruiting, and in particular the record number of commitments, receiver's coach and first-year recruiting coordinator Steve Broussard modestly shook it off and said, "I didn't know that until you just told me.

"I think the excitement and where we are going with the program, the (new) uniforms have something to do with it. And I think the coaches are being a little more…We've got a game plan: we are being a little more assertive and talking to the kids and following up, kids are just buying in on what we are trying to do and the direction of the program."

Broussard is not only the program's new coordinator, taking over for Grady Stretz, who left in February to work for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he is also the new point man in the talent-rich Los Angeles city section recruiting territory, and largely responsible for what's taking place internally.

"We are just trying to get all the coaches involved in recruiting, so it's not just linebacker coach per se, or the receiver coach, recruiting the guys, it's the defensive coordinator, it's the defensive lineman coach, it's probably five or six or seven coaches talking to the kid, so the kid gets more comfortable with us," Broussard said. "It gets kind of monotonous sometimes you know when an area coach is just talking to a kid.

"We're just trying to have a little more guys involved in the recruiting process and so far its been going good, and it's just a testament to all the hard work the rest of the coaches have been doing together as a staff."

Broussard is personally responsible for a large number of Sun Devil priority targets, and half of the program's commitments -- 11 out of 22 -- are from his area of responsibility. It's an extremely impressive number considering Broussard's personal list is larger than the entire programs at Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, USC and Utah, and is tied with Stanford and UCLA. In fact, Broussard has five commits from one high school -- Long Beach (Calif.) Poly -- while Cal has just four as a team.

Broussard is also on pace to break previous safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick's record of 13 recruits in a class at ASU, a number that at the time it was set seemed almost unreachable.

Eighteen months ago it was widely believed Lubick would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace. An extremely savvy recruiter who left for Duke in early 2010, Lubick was responsible for scoring a number of ASU's current starters, including the highest rated signee in school history, Vontaze Burfict. Many speculated the program's recruiting would plunge after losing such a top-quality recruiter. That hasn't proven to be the case.

"I don't think we are surprised as staff because I think we know what we have to offer here at Arizona State and where we finished up last year and the senior leadership that we have on our team and the direction of where we are going," Broussard said. "So we are not surprised of where we are now and now it's just a matter of continue recruiting the guys you've got committed and recruiting more guys and seeing everything, because it's a long process. We're going to see how things play out, but keep focusing on right now and focusing getting better as a team and winning that first game and going on to the next one."


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