Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

Anderson and Graham put ASU football on fast track

Email this story
Print this story

Todd Graham’s enthusiasm is infectious. In talking about the 2015 recruiting class, he made it abundantly clear: He thinks the Sun Devils are poised to win. Now.

“This is the deepest team, fastest team, biggest team, most explosive team we’ve had to this point,” said Graham.

This is an unprecedented time for the football program.

The Sun Devils finished last season at No. 12 in the AP Poll. This year’s recruiting class is the highest rated in school history. Stadium renovations are underway that will bring one of the nation’s largest student sections closer to the field. And an athletic director’s contributions in his first year are already paying dividends.

Ray Anderson, who spearheaded the renovations and strong support from the university’s leadership, was vital to the program’s success in recruiting, said Graham.

“You look at his educational background, you look at his background with the NFL … and obviously in recruiting that’s valuable. That’s huge. He’s a huge asset.”

Anderson has degrees from Stanford and Harvard and played football and baseball at Stanford. He helped create a sports law firm and sports agency and was the executive vice president of the Atlanta Falcons before joining ASU in 2014.

“The business experiences, the stadium experiences, the football ops experiences, the officiating experiences that I had at the professional level, I think translate down here,” said Anderson. “We had a lot of interaction with the collegiate space. We have some insight that perhaps others don’t have and that can be an advantage for us.”

Most recruiting services have the Sun Devils 2015 class ranked in the top 20. The team’s success over the past couple seasons opened the door to a new level of nationwide recruiting and the ability to sign players that fit the team’s system.

This year’s class featured prospects from Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Kansas as well as the traditional pipeline states of California and Arizona.

“We want to win championships but we want to it with class and style, and oh by the way, we want to be elite students as well,” said Anderson. “And so the combination of those things has us becoming a very attractive destination for student athlete.”

Graham’s aspirations are featured in an elaborate mural at the back of the Dutson Theater in the Carson Student-Athlete Center.

“Our expectations are written right back there on the back of that wall: national champions, PAC-12 champions,” he said.