February 01, 2017

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona State received some big news when Alabama transfer quarterback Blake Barnett was cleared to play next season.

The Sun Devils followed that up by loading up on in-state talent on national signing day.

Arizona State signed nine players from the Grand Canyon State on Wednesday, including four-star defensive end Tyler Johnson from Gilbert Highland High School and pro-style quarterback Ryan Kelley from Chandler Basha.

''This is a breakthrough year,'' Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. ''We'll take this every year.''

The class also includes Eno Benjamin, a 5-foot-9, 204-pound running back who originally committed to Iowa. He is rated as the No. 6 running back by the 247Sports composite and is already enrolled at Arizona State.

The big get was Barnett, who is counted as part of the recruiting class. He played in the Crimson Tide's first game against Southern California last season and decided to transfer after four games. He was originally expected to sit out the first four games of the 2017 season, but the NCAA cleared him to play in the opener.

The 6-foot-5, 211-pound Barnett is rated the top pro-style quarterback in the 2017 class.

Other things to know about Arizona State's recruiting class:

Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Barnett.

Best of the rest: Johnson. The 6-4, 245-pounder who also plays tight end had numerous offers, including Alabama, USC and Michigan State, where his father played. He is rated as the No. 17 player at his position nationally.

Late addition: TE Mark Walton. The Sun Devils didn't start recruiting him until last week, but closed quickly.

One that got away: OL Austin Jackson. The Sun Devils were in the running for the state's top offensive lineman, but he committed to Southern California on Wednesday morning.

How they'll fit in: The Sun Devils gained immediate help and potentially a lot of competition at quarterback. Arizona State returns Manny Wilkins and Dillon Sterling-Cole, who both played last year. Barnett comes with all the accolades and Kelley is the highest-rated quarterback out of Arizona.


For the full list: www.thesundevils.com


More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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