Desert Made and Desert Proud: Fall of 2020 Signees Have Local Flair
Marco Salas: A Sun Devil Writing About Sun Devils | Staying Home: Sun Devils From Arizona High Schools Through Recent Years | Arizona Produced Sun Devils on 2020-21 Rosters | Sun Devil Signees (Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021)
By Marco Salas, Walter Cronkite School/Sun Devil Football
When it comes to signing day, a student athlete can finally show the world all the blood, sweat, time and tears they put in to be able to pick a school at which to continue excelling at the sport they play. They get the chance to compete at their dream school playing the sport they love all while getting the chance to earn a degree.
For most student-athletes, their dream school can be down the road for them. In this year's signing class, the Sun Devils were able to sign seven local student-athletes, giving them a chance to represent their home state. Seven desert-made products will suit up to play baseball, men's and women's golf, gymnastics and soccer.
Ranked as the fifth-best junior golfer in the nation by Golfweek and representing the 602, Preston Summerhays is ready to continue the excellence Coach Matt Thurmond has built for the men's program.
Summerhays committed to ASU during his sophomore year of high school and knew Tempe was the right place for him. He loves the elevated level to which they are raising the program that Thurmond and associate head coach Armen Kirakossian have built.
"I really like coach Thurmond and coach Armen; they've done a great job with the program. It's really nice to be able to stay close but to be playing at a really great program. They have a really good golf team and I think we can be really good in the next couple of years," Summerhays said.
Got some dudes -- including one local -- that make us better. @GrayhawkGolf get ready. They see alums like @JonRahmpga @Paul_Casey @PhilMickelson and Chez Reavie teeing it at Masters and want to be next. We welcome Preston, Kiko and Josele! https://t.co/zLXqpkR7Wn pic.twitter.com/IcurukzVEu
— Sun Devil Men's Golf (@sundevilmgolf) November 12, 2020
While he is moving on to compete at the next level, Summerhays is excited to spend these years close to his family. Staying close was a big factor in his recruitment.
"I really wanted to stay home and the great thing about ASU is they made that decision really easy for me because they're 25 minutes away and they have an amazing program," said Summerhays.
Thurmond is excited to add Summerhays to the squad. He said, "…he is someone who is always getting better through a relentless commitment to the game and whatever it takes to be great, and he will be great. Preston always does everything with class and is a true gentleman. We are so happy to have him at ASU. Welcome to ASU Preston, great things are ahead."
The men's golf program isn't the only program loading up with national talent as Calynne Rosholt, the 59th-ranked Best female golfer in the nation according to Golfweek, is following in her mother's footsteps by taking her talents to Tempe.
Her mother, Lynne, played at Arizona State during the Linda Vollstedt era, and also was teammates with current coach Missy Farr-Kaye. Rosholt is excited to play at the same school her mom played at and continue that excellence.
"I'm super excited to follow in her footsteps and to play for one of her teammates [Farr-Kaye] and I hope I can live up to what my mom did in college."
When she signed her national letter of intent and made everything official, Rosholt was excited to spend the next part of her life in Tempe.
"I was super excited, I know this is the right place for me and this will be the place I find success," said Rosholt.
— Sun Devil W. Golf (@SunDevilWGolf) November 28, 2020
On signing day, Farr-Kaye was excited to announce the signing of Rosholt. She said, "We are very excited to welcome Calynne to our Sun Devil Golf family. She is a very talented young lady, and we can't wait for her to join us."
Coming out of Chandler, Arizona, Alex Theodorou is ready to be a part of the Gym Devils' success.
A recent competitor at the 2020 Valley of the Sun Challenge, where she took 1st on vault with a perfect score, Theodorou chose ASU because of the academics, athletics and the close proximity to her family. She said, "When I took a step back and looked at what I wanted, I realized everything I wanted academically, athletically was all available right here [in Tempe]."
When she gets on campus, Theodorou will attend Barrett, the Honors college, to push herself academically.
Welcome to the Gym Devil family, Alex! ??
From Chandler, Arizona, Alex has competed at JO Nationals three times and has scored a perfect 10 on vault! ?? pic.twitter.com/kad1Yoz1Xo
— Sun Devil Gymnastics (@SunDevilGym) November 11, 2020
"I really wanted a good honors program because I have goals to go to medical school, and the Barrett program is one of the best. I have academic strengths and I wanted something that wasn't just all about athletics. I wanted to be able to push myself academically and ASU and Barrett provided that for me," Theodorou said.
Coach Jay Santos is excited to get to work with Theodorou. On signing day, he said, "We are thrilled that Alex chose to stay home and be a Sun Devil! It was so easy to see during the recruiting process that she is going to be a stand-out collegiate gymnast. She is very driven and focused in everything she does, which can be seen through her athletic and academic accomplishments. Alex is going to make an impact on every event as a Sun Devil and most notably on floor and vault, where she excels. Her dynamic gymnastics will highlight what she is capable of doing and is going to be exciting to watch."
Isaia Glass, a signee for Coach Herm Edwards, is another Legacy Devil who will carve out his own path in Tempe. His dad, Paul Glass, played on the defensive line for the Sun Devils from 00-01.
"My dad played there [at ASU] which wasn't a deciding factor but it's something cool to continue.
Glass, a three-star 6'5" 250lb offensive lineman out of Queen Creek high school, chose ASU over prominent schools because of the coaching staff and his long-term goal of making it to the NFL.
"The coaching staff is elite there [at ASU] and my goal is the NFL and with the coaching caliber it was hard not to choose them. What coach Herm is doing definitely has the program on the rise."
On signing day, Glass was happy to make everything he dreamed of official. He said, "I was just relieved, even though you commit nothing is official until you sign the papers. I was definitely relieved but not satisfied because I'm not on campus yet. I have to start from zero again and work my way up to play over there [in Tempe]."
Glass has a couple of goals he plans on accomplishing during his time at ASU, getting his Psychology degree and making an impact on the field.
"Overall, I want to get my degree, and athletically I'm trying to go in and play and make an impact. My goal is to go to the league so honestly if that happens that would be ideal, but I just want to make an impact there and do my time."
At the end of the day, these desert-made devils found their calling to stay here in Arizona and make their home state proud.
(Note: Marco Salas will be a redshirt sophomore for the Sun Devil football team next fall. A 2018 Dobson High School graduate, he is an aspiring journalist. We are sending him around (virtually) to tell some stories this year and chat with some Sun Devils. He will also give us some insight on what he learned and what he appreciates about the student-athletes as he produces the story.)