January 6, 2008

Tabach: ASU pledge 'one of the best days of my life'

After tallying a state-best 16 interceptions and picking up a plethora of post-season honors as a senior at Scottsdale Saguaro, free safety Max Tabach was forced to go the JUCO route, not because of academics, but because he didn't receive a single scholarship offer. In the end, it may have worked out for the best, he said, because he'll now have the opportunity to play college football at his dream school.

Tabach, a 6-foot-2, 205 pound freshman at Glendale Community College committed to Arizona State on Sunday, just a couple days after first hearing from the school's defensive coordinator Craig Bray for the first time.

Bray received Tabach's high school film from his coach at Saguaro, Mike Reardon, and it led to the recruit unofficially visiting the school this weekend.

"I came in, met their coordinator, coach Bray. He saw my highlight film, liked what he saw, wanted me to come back with some more game film," Tabach said. "Then I met coach Erickson, talked to him for a little bit. Coach Bray showed me around for like two hours today (Sunday). Then they watched the film and he got back to me later that day and said, 'How'd you like to be an ASU Sun Devil.' and that was an easy decision. I said yes."

An easy decision considering Tabach had no other scholarship offers, but especially because he is a lifelong Sun Devil fan who even has the school's name in his e-mail address.

"I've followed the Sun Devils and been a fan of the Sun Devils all my life," Tabach said. "I'm still in shock kind of but it didn't surprise me why because I'm a full qualifier with three years to play and I can come in for the spring semester and spring ball. They wanted to get on me because I'll be able to practice right away."

Tabach was frustrated to not pick up scholarship offers after such an impressive senior season, but said that now it appears like a possible blessing in disguise.

"It was tough," he said. "I had to answer a lot of questions as to why I wasn't getting looked at. I was 170 pounds but I still had the stats to go somewhere and I put on 35 pounds in the last year, just got in the weight room and that was all I could really do, just keep working.

"If you're going to play at this level, in the Pac-10, you've got to be physically ready. If I came in at 170 pounds, they would just throw me around. So I had to be ready."

In recent months, Tabach has heard from a number of schools, including Arizona and Boise State, but nothing developed into a scholarship offer.

"I've just been trying to since high school to get somebody to take a look at me. I got the film in the right hands. Coach Bray liked what he saw and it worked out for the best. I can't imagine being at a place better for me than ASU."

Tabach was already a big fan of the school, but he felt even more comfortable with the opportunity after meeting with Bray and Erickson.

"I love those coaches," Tabach said. "I met Erickson for an hour and I really liked him a lot. I'm looking forward to working with coach Bray and the other coaches there for three years. It made my commitment that much easier. I can't wait to get in there. They want me to come in and compete for the starting job right away [opposite] Troy Nolan."

As a freshman, Tabach had 70 tackles and four interceptions for GCC. He is expected to Sign a Letter of Intent as soon as Monday.

"Erickson has the program doing well," Tabach said. "The players believe and he knows what he's doing. It's just exciting to be a part of it really.

"My family is absolutely ecstatic. I've been trying to get recruited for a year and a half and finally it happened. It's just crazy. Overwhelming almost. It's unreal. It's only been a couple hours so it hasn't even totally sunken in yet. It's one of the best days of my life."

Tabach is ASU's 20th commitment in the class.

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