De Armas taking nothing for granted

De Armas taking nothing for granted

Life's adversity often makes a person appreciate what he has or had to work for that much more, and in the case of ASU's newsiest signee Chris De Armas he will never view football again like he used to.

"I'm so excited, it really is a relief," said the 6-4, 295 Chris De Armas about signing with Arizona State. "I've been through this route before and now to have it all settled and done now which really allows me to focus my academics and getting better on the field."

De Armas who prepped at Southwest Miami in Florida, signed with the University of South Florida out of high school in 2005.

"I saw a good opportunity to play with early," De Armas recalled, "because they were an up and coming program at the time. I also saw a lot of potential in that school because they were getting good athletes. I knew it was just a matter of time before they were going to be considered for a conference championship.

"I didn't get recruited by the bigger schools, so I have been playing with a chip on my shoulder ever since. I played at one of the smaller districts in Miami, so my game film was always questioned because of the competition I played against. I've always been the underdog which is fine because I wouldn't want it any other way."

Due to the offensive lineman's family's financial situation, De Armas had the leave the Bulls before enrolling there. "I just took it upon myself to not play football and help my family," De Armas commented. "I was working as a customer rep for a construction company for two years."

During that period, De Armas was coaching a Pop Warner team and thus the proverbial football bug was still there in him. "I knew I wanted to get back to playing," De Armas said. "It was just a matter of me getting into shape. So I just worked hard to get to where I am right now."

The decision to start playing after a long hiatus was hard enough as it is, and it would seem that packing up and moving cross country to the Los Angeles area would compound that overall challenge that awaited De Armas. Nonetheless, the lineman was more than happy and motivated to make that transition.

"Playing against the best competition – that was the only way I was going to get better," De Armas explained. "I was playing catch up being out of the football for so long. At one point I weighed 365 lbs. I had to fight to get back in shape and at the same time compete at the highest level.

"I'm very happy at the decision I made and where it got me."

The lineman admitted that once he got to El Camino there was the natural culture shock of the new surroundings and on the field an adjustment of not starting for the first time in his career.

"I got there later than the freshman who started over me," De Armas remarked. "but I was in the rotation and played in every game. In the spring I was starting to look better, I was more athletic (De Armas lost 45 pounds between his freshman and sophomore year) and schools started looking at me."

Notably, Tennessee and Oregon took some long looks at him at that time. Since De Armas was a qualifier he could have departed El Camino if a school had offered him. "I could have left after my freshman year because I had offers from I-AA schools," De Armas stated. "but I didn't go for that because I thought I could get better offers."

De Armas played right tackle his freshman year and slid to right guard his second year at El Camino, a role he feels suits him better.

"At guard I get to be more physical," De Armas explained. "When you're inside you can really put your hands on someone and drive them back. I just think this position uses my full capabilities."

His play at guard naturally caught the eye of many schools, including the Sun Devils. The lineman first met with his ASU recruiting coach wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, in late November.

"He was straight with me from day one," De Armas said. "He told me what the situation was and made things very clear. We had some good communication going on and we really understood each other. I really got along with him."

De Armas committed to Arizona State before his official visit to Tempe, and obviously what he witnessed on the trip didn't cause him to rethink his resolution.

"I really like what Coach Erickson brings to the table," De Armas said. "He and the offensive line coach have been together for a long time, they won championships and know what he takes to win. He obviously coached at the ‘U' (i.e. the University of Miami) so they know all about players like me from South Florida and how we approach this game.

"They put guys in the league and coached in the NFL. So at the end of the day they know what it takes to get to that level and that's what every player wants."

One of the lineman's offers was from his hometown school Florida International and De Armas admitted at the time that he was seriously considering moving back to Miami. Ultimately, he was convinced not to go that route and stay on the west coast.

"I'm glad I did," he admitted.

De Armas is excited to be enrolling at ASU in the spring semester, which should greatly assist in his acclimation to the program several months before the 2010 campaign begins.

"I think I can bring a level of maturity and assertiveness to the offensive line," De Armas stated. "I know how to play in a hostile environment but keep your cool at the same time and be focused.

"I practice what I preach and lead by example. I'm not going to tell the coaches that I want to be leader, I'll just show them by example that I can be one. However I can help this line, that's what I'm going to do."

Watch Chris De Armas' Sophomore Season Highlights here



Recruit Profile

Name

Chris De Armas

Junior College

El Camino (Calif.)

Position

Offensive lineman

Height

6-4

Weight

295

Date of Birth

6/14/87

Birthplace

Hollywood, Calif.

Nickname

"Didn't have one."

Favorite TV Show

"SportsCenter"

Favorite Movie

"Friday"

Favorite Singer

"Jay-Z"

Favorite Food

"Italian"

Favorite Drink

"Water"

Favorite Athlete

"Jeremy Shockey"

Favorite Pro Team

"Miami Heat"

First Football Memory

"The first game I watched on TV was the Thanksgiving game in the snow where the Miami Dolphins beat the Dallas Cowboys. I was six or seven years old."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I'm pretty laid back and not really in the party scene. I guess because I'm older."

Why did you choose ASU?

"The coaching staff"

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"I want to be in the NFL. If that doesn't work out I'd like be a police officer or an academic advisor."

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