2014 Desert Mountain tandem talks ASU visit

2014 Desert Mountain WR Mark Andrews

There is no doubt that the top local talent in the 2013 class has already been generating impressive offers from coast to coast, but the 2014 class is starting to make some noise of its own early in the process. Two of the biggest reasons for that are Scottsdale Desert Mountain teammates WR Mark Andrews and QB Kyle Allen who unofficially visited ASU this past Friday.

"It was a great visit and I liked everything I saw," said wide receiver Mark Andrews. "I saw all the facilities, the campus and talked to the coaches. I've been to the school before but this was definitely the first time I got to tour the whole school and talk to the coaches.

"It's a very nice campus and it's very close to home so that's big. The Head Coach Todd Graham, said that he will always try to get the best in-state players and he was looking for players that have the total package as far as talent and character. They (ASU) are starting something new here and they want as many in-state players to jump onboard."

The Wolves' 6-6 220-pound standout spent quite a bit of time during the visit talking to both offensive coordinator Mike Norvell and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander as well as watching game film with them.

"Their offense was very intriguing," Andrews commented. "They throw the ball a lot and throw a lot of deep balls. Their style of offense really impressed me and it suits the type of player I am. The coaches said that I was a big wide receiver that can really move and have good hands, which is exactly what they are looking for in a wide receiver.

"I want to work more on the mental part of the game because I only have been playing since my freshman year."

As a sophomore Andrews, who reported a 40-time of 4.7 seconds, caught 58 passes for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs. The wide receiver has eight offers thus far from the two in-state schools as well as Ohio State, Michigan Nebraska, UCLA, Oregon State and Utah.

"I like all the (recruiting) attention I'm getting but I'm just taking it all in," Andrews said. "There is definitely going to be a lot of pressure on me going into my junior year, but that something that you just have to deal with."

His visit to ASU was the first unofficial visit the wide receiver took this year, yet Andrews didn't know of any other planned visits he was going to take prior to the season, other than a possible visit to Arizona.

While Andrews remarked that he hasn't indentified any early favorites among his suitors, he did admit that following Friday his perception of the Sun Devils did change.

"I was definitely a lot more impressed with ASU after my visit," he said.

Andrews has no plans to make a pledge this year, but he does already know some of the factors that will guide his decision.

"I'm really big on academics and academic opportunities for athletes." Andrews described. "I will be going to go to a school where I can see myself fitting in with the offense."

Much of Andrews' success can be attributed to his Wolves' signal caller Kyle Allen (pictured). The 6-2 195-pound quarterback, who earned All-State honors in 2011, completed over 58 percent of his passes and threw for 2,547 yards, 25 TDs and 11 interceptions and therefore has drawn the interest of the Sun Devils. Following his unofficial visit suffice to say that the interest was mutual.

"It was awesome and I had a lot of fun," Allen said. "I got to see what plans they have for the stadium, and got to see the campus and the facilities. I like how close to home it is so I can go back and see my family whenever I want to, and have them be able to come out to games. There is a lot to do around campus and I already have a lot of friends that go there.

"I got to learn a lot about the school and the program. They obviously had a tough season last year but they are turning things around with Coach Graham and they should have a great year. He (Graham) told me that he will recruit more disciplined kids, better players and have better coaching."

During his meeting and game film viewing with Norvell, Allen was intrigued by simplicity as well as the explosiveness of the ASU offensive scheme.

"The offensive reads are very easy but they are very effective plays," Allen described. "I liked how every run play also had an option to pass. They like to throw the ball downfield a lot which is awesome.

"Coach Norvell said that he liked my ability to read defenses, my quick release and my strong arm. He also likes my leadership skills."

Allen has also impressed Scout.com's recruiting analysts in the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp a couple of weeks ago. He was applauded for his pocket awareness and overall mechanics, as well as throwing a very tight ball. His drops and athleticism out of the shotgun were also impressive during that event.

"I feel that I'm a good leader and can put the ball anywhere I want to on the field," Allen said of his skills. "I can work on getting faster and stronger, and making perfect reads."

Currently, Allen holds offers from Arizona, Boise State, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and UCLA. The Wolves' QB feels that the Sun Devils could be next on that list.

"They (ASU) are still thinking things over," Allen commented, "but they are recruiting me the hardest along with Oklahoma State. They will probably offer me on Friday when I will be down there for the passing league. I hope that it will happen and that would be very exciting and mean a lot to me.

"I was surprised at the beginning about all the recruiting attention, especially when North Carolina was my first offer. But I did have a great sophomore year, I played hard through spring ball so I guess that's a plus."

Allen stated that he plans to unofficially visit Ohio State, North Carolina, USC and UCLA this summer. He added that the Buckeyes could offer him while he attends their camp. Regardless of the offers he does get in the upcoming months, Allen doesn't expect to make a decision before his junior year ends."

"Academics are going to be a big part of my decision," Allen noted. "Location and relationship with the coaches who can get the best of my ability is another thing I will look at."

Coming into the 2012 season the QB-WR connection of Allen and Andrews should be one of the best in the state. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the two have already discussed the possibly of continuing that connection on the next level.

"We definitely talked about that a lot," Allen admitted. "We really would like to go to the same school, but once it comes down to it each of us needs to do what's best for them."

The Desert Mountain program is certainly experiencing lean times, recording just one winning season in the last eight years. However, if Allen's and Andrews' sophomore campaign is any indication the Wolves could be in the conversation as one of the favorites to win the state championship in the next couple of seasons.

"I definitely feel that we will have a great year next year," Allen said. "We went down to U of A for a passing league and we lost in the finals in overtime to Hamilton who made it to the state championship last year. So, I feel we that we are in the picture for a state championship.

"I don't think I will have more pressure this season. I thought last year I had more pressure, and this year we know what we can do. Mark and I are going to be leaders on the team and we should have a good year."

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