College of the Desert (Calif.) defensive lineman Jake Sheffield visited Arizona State last weekend after being offered a scholarship by the program's coaches recently and within a day of his return home decided he was ready to commit to the program.
"[An ASU coach] came out to College of the Desert and watched me during spring and I guess they liked me or whatever and the fact I'm a mid-year transfer so after watching film and talking as a staff they offered me about a week and a half ago," Sheffield said. "So I've been in contact with coach (Greg) Burns and coach (Scottt) Brown, they wanted to know if I'd take a trip down there to see the school and area.
"When I drove down there I was very impressed with the football facilities. They're a big school so I figured they'd have good facilities but I was shocked. I really enjoyed the coaching staff. They love the game of football so I was pretty impressed with that. The campus was pretty nice. They have academic support and all of that. I like how they support the coaching staff. Everyone I met was very down to earth and friendly. I really liked it."
Sheffield, a 6-foot-3, 275-pounder who graduated from Gateway High in Aurora, Colo., in 2005, was an all-state honoree at offensive guard who enrolled in the Marine Corps, eventually spending approximately 18 months working two tours in Iraq as an artillery gunner.
"I was at Camp Pendleton here in California and we had a little tackle football league or whatever on the base that I played in and a coach at College of the Desert recruited me so that's why I ended up here," Sheffield said. "Last year was my first season."
Part of Sheffield's appeal to Arizona State, he said, was his status as a likely December gradate who'll be available for spring ball next season. Of course, as a 24-year-old who spent time in Fallujah, Iraq, there is also the issue of advanced maturity over a majority of his peers playing college football. Sheffield is also a father.
"ASU didn't rushing me or anything," he said. "I just told them I wanted time to think about it and let it digest. I spoke with my family and my girlfriend. My son is out here I won't be too far from him so I can visit him on weekends and stuff. I really like the coaching staff and feel it will be a great fit as far as location."
Indiana had also offered Sheffield, he said, and Hawaii, Iowa State, Oregon State and UNLV were among the schools actively recruiting him at the time of his commitment.
"At my junior college I play d-end because we play a 3-4 but we also play where I'm inside," he said. "As far as I know Arizona State wants me as a 3-technique (tackle). Depending on how it goes either that or maybe a d-end sometimes."
With the decisions of Sheffield and Kody Kohl this week, the Sun Devils have 11 verbal commitments in the class, more than any other school in the Pac-12 and dramatically ahead of the pace the program has set in any cycle over the last decade.