The Arizona State Sun Devils have secured two commitments in the 2014 football class, and their headliner is four-star safety Jaleel Wadood. One of the top 250 recruits in the 2014 class, Arizona State landed a pledge from Wadood in the middle of January. Although his commitment to ASU is firm right now, teams like the Oregon Ducks are pressing hard to flip Wadood to their school.
Ever since he committed to Arizona State, Wadood has received offers from major programs like the Boise State Broncos, Washington Huskies, Oregon, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Vanderbilt Commodores, and San Diego State Aztecs. He even attended Washington’s junior day just days after receiving an offer from the Huskies.
At this point in time, the only true threat to Arizona State maintaining Wadood’s pledge is the Oregon Ducks, and they are a very real threat indeed. The St. John Bosco star was a huge catch for lead recruiter DelVaughn Alexander and head coach Todd Graham, but Oregon still has a shot at flipping the four-star safety inside the conference.
The 5’11″, 170 pound S from Lakewood is one of the top 25 recruits in the state of California, and he is also among the best 20 safety recruits in the country. With 4.50 speed, Wadood has the speed to excel at free safety and was named an ESPN All-American. That’s one of just countless national awards Wadood has won, and Arizona State held the edge from the very beginning, as his brother Rashaad was also a Sun Devil signee. He is being heavily recruited after the commitment, and some are even saying that schools have been recruiting Wadood harder after he committed to ASU three months ago.
Wadood is an excellent player in coverage and is also able to play at the cornerback position. He’s clearly best at free safety, as he completely shuts down the deep ball and has been a standout at various camps across the country. Because Wadood’s brother plays at Arizona State, they still have a great chance at sealing the deal in his recruitment are still very firm with the four-star FS. He is currently viewed as a “hard” commit, but Oregon will of course continue to try and bring him up north in the Pac-12.
Some people think Wadood should play cornerback in college like his brother, and he could definitely succeed there. Some even say that he should move over to offense at wide receiver, but I think safety is the best place for Wadood at the collegiate level. His ability to take out the deep throw and his instincts make me think safety is his natural position.
Even though his size (5’11″, 170 pounds) makes him look like a better fit at CB, Wadood has the instincts and ball skills to excel at free safety. He’s actually being recruited to Arizona State as an FS, and he prides himself on his ball skills and instincts. He’s going to play at FS in college for ASU, and I think Graham and the Sun Devils have that right. While he does need to bulk up, Wadood has shown on tape that he has the ability to play the run and make plays- it’s that playmaking ability that would make the standout at the prestigious St. John Bosco a great fit at free safety.
Coverage skills are still paramount at the free safety position, so Jaleel Wadood can definitely bring that kind of ability to the table at the back end of the secondary. In a nutshell, he’ll make a defense feel safe when he’s patrolling at safety. He has the ability to make a big play on the ball if a quarterback gets too gutsy and chucks a bad one downfield, so Wadood keeps QBs honest and makes them think twice about challenging him downfield. Cornerback is still a great fit for Wadood, but I think he could be something else at free safety. It sounds like Wadood wants to bulk up to play there, and I think Arizona State will be able to develop him further to make a smooth transition to the safety position.