Profiling Arizona State's Five Football Transfers for 2020

Donnie Druin

Profiling ASU’s Five Football Transfers for 2020

While recruiting continues to ramp up for Arizona State football, the Sun Devils also welcome five new talents via the NCAA’s transfer portal for the 2020 season. The transfer portal acts somewhat as a free agent pool (though the NCAA will refute that statement) for players to change schools for whatever reason. The process for a student-athlete to go through the transfer portal was broken down simply by ESPN’s Jeff Borzello:

  1. Said player wishes to transfer and alerts their coach/compliance department. Once the request is made, 48 hours is given until the player must be made available in the portal. A coach/administration cannot say no to a player’s request.
  2. The portal acts as a database across all collegiate sports, so once the player is entered into the portal, all schools are available to see the player’s name and email address. Coaches can sort through a number of different filters to find players and can save names to a watch list.
  3. The player then becomes fair game for coaches across the country to begin a new recruitment process in hopes of obtaining said player.

Big names such as Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts have previously utilized the portal to find new homes in their college football careers, and it appears the portal is here to stay after it’s initial success. Often times, eligibility is a tricky road to navigate for an athlete that wishes to transfer. Below is an excerpt from the NCAA’s official website on eligibility within the transfer portal:

“NCAA research shows that on average, student-athletes who transfer to a different school take longer to graduate and are less likely to earn a degree than student-athletes who remain at one school. A year in residence to acclimate to their new school may help offset this dynamic.

Student-athletes who participate in most NCAA sports are eligible for a one-time transfer exception, which allows them to compete immediately after transfer once in their college experience if they meet other requirements (such as being academically eligible and receiving support from their previous school). If the previous school does not support a student-athlete’s one-time transfer exception, it must provide that student an opportunity to appeal, and that process is conducted by individuals outside of athletics.”

ASU is very familiar with the process, as 14 Sun Devil football players entered their name in the transfer portal for 2020, with seven players yet to find a home. The newest batch of transfers includes players from all walks of life, from prestigious academic schools such as Harvard to hardnosed SEC football schools such as Texas A&M.

Profiling ASU’s five transfers for 2020:

Harvard

Name: John Stivers
Position: Tight End
Previous School: Harvard

John Stivers arrives to Arizona State as a graduate transfer, following his completion of courses/graduation from Harvard University. While Stivers only caught 9 passes for 114 yards in 2019 (the numbers closely mirror ASU’s top tight end last season), he looks to compete for playing time immediately after two ASU tight ends (Jared Bubak, Grant Miles) say adios via the transfer portal and 2019’s starting tight end Tommy Hudson now in the NFL. With little film on Stivers available, it’s hard to accurately predict how Stivers will fit in new offensive coordinator Zak Hill’s offense, although Stivers’ 6-3, 235 lb frame should provide a valuable body in any facet of the offense. It’s also noteworthy that Stivers was awarded Harvard’s Robert F Kennedy Award for his desire and determination in 2019. 

stanford

Name: Henry Hattis
Position: Offensive Guard
Previous School: Stanford

Hattis provides another graduate transfer from a prestigious academic school, as Hattis graduated from Stanford prior to finding his new home in Tempe. The 6-6 297 lb guard played in 19 consecutive games from the beginning of his junior season before a season-ending knee injury last season (six games started for Hattis in 2019). The arrival of Hattis brings a welcomed veteran presence among the offensive line, an area many have pegged as one of needed improvement heading into this season. Hattis is likely to start this season and provide an upgrade in protection for quarterback Jayden Daniels. Also noteworthy: Hattis’ sister played basketball at Arizona State. 

texas a m

Name: Kellen Diesch
Position: Offensive Tackle
Previous School: Texas A/M

Diesch, another graduate transfer, played in all 12 of Texas A&M’s games in 2019, serving as the team’s back-up left tackle. During Diesch’s recruitment out of high school, he was ranked as top-five offensive tackle prospect in the country by Rivals. Diesch’s 6-7 300 lb body provides the ultimate composition for a starting tackle, and similar to Hattis, will look to bring an established presence for the Sun Devils’ offensive line. Arizona Republic’s Michelle Gardner pointed out Diesch’s path to ASU may have been paved by offensive line coach Dave Christensen, a former Texas A&M assistant coach that recruited Diesch to College Station

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boise

Name: DeAndre Pierce
Position: Safety
Previous School: Boise State

Pierce, the son of Sun Devils co-defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, hails from Boise State after battling injuries the previous two seasons as a Bronco. Starting just nine games since 2018, his strongest campaign coming his sophomore season (All-Mountain West Honorable Mention, 14 games played, 83 tackles and one interception). After suffering injuries such as a lacerated spleen among others, the hope is to keep Pierce healthy and play with what some consider to be one of the better secondaries in the country. Although Pierce is considered undersized as a safety (5-11, 180 lbs), his physicality and tackling abilities make for a solid box safety. Those that have watched pierce admire his game, It’s simply a matter of staying on the field for Pierce’s talent to shine. 

Florida State

Name: Logan Tyler
Position: Punter
Previous School: Florida State

After initially losing punter Michael Turk to the NFL, the Sun Devils found their newest punter in Florida State graduate transfer Logan Tyler. Tyler, a left-footed punter, was once named to the 2017 Ray Guy watchlist, an award for the country’s best punter. After 2017, Tyler had some off the field issues at FSU, as he played just one game in 2019 prior to his transfer. Tyler was expected to be the starting Sun Devils punter… until Turk ultimately was granted eligibility once again after not being drafted nor signed to a contract following the draft. While the two are expected to battle it out for the starting position, Turk remains the favorite to win his job back. 

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