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January 24, 2014

Lauderdale talks ASU pledge

For the second straight year Arizona State has picked up a commitment from one of the top junior college wide receivers in the country.

Eric Lauderdale, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder out of Mission Viejo (Calif.) Saddleback Community College, picked the Sun Devils Friday over offers from Arkansas, Florida, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and a host of others.

"They have a great offense and a lot of good players coming back and a spot for a receiver like me to come in and make an impact," Lauderdale said. "It just seemed like the best place for me to go the more I thought about it honestly."

Lauderdale is the No. 3 junior college receiver and No. 18 overall prospect nationally by Rivals.com. He had 54 catches for 704 yards and nine touchdowns in just seven games last season.

Almost a year ago the Sun Devils signed receiver Jaelen Strong out of the Southern California junior college ranks and the No. 49 overall prospect nationally went on to finish his first ASU season with 75 catches for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns.

"From a junior college standpoint, he was one of the top receivers but I compared him to other top junior college receivers and he did the best," Lauderdale said of Strong. "I want to say maybe because the offense throws a lot and it's spread, no huddle on top of the fact that he's really good. I want to say another reason I'm coming is because the second leading receive on the team was a running back and third was a tight end, so I know I can help."

Lauderdale said he's especially good at getting yards after he has the ball in his hands, and that ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell impressed him with his vision for how Lauderdale will be used in the team's offense.

"If they are going to double Jaelen Strong, that's going to leave me one on one," Lauderdale said. "They can't cover us both and cover the tight end and the running back. They can't cover everyone.

"It was just a matter of me taking the visit and having to see for myself. I had to see Mike Norvell and he showed me something all the other coaches didn't show me as far as doing jet sweeps and kind of run the ball out of motion and stuff like that, and just move me around to take advantage of my strengths."

Lauderdale said his other finalists were Oregon and Florida. With two season of eligibility, the Georgia native is getting ready for BCS level football while finishing his degree this spring.

"I'm about to start training next week," Lauderdale said. "I'm going to go to work when I get out there. I'm not playing, really."


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