Arizona State football not distracted by NCAA recruiting investigation, coach Herm Edwards says

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The Arizona State football program has had three coaches placed on administrative leave.

It has rumors and speculation surrounding the future of the program in the midst of an NCAA recruiting investigation.

The team is not distracted, however, according to head coach Herm Edwards.

Edwards was on the Doug & Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Monday morning where he talked about the state of his ASU football program.

“I think we’re making way too much out of this, guys," Edwards said when asked about three of his assistants being on administrative leave during the recruiting investigation. "We really are. We’ve been practicing almost a month now of football. … I just think you can make it whatever you want to make it. I know what we’ve done."

The Arizona State coach insisted his team will be ready for the upcoming season.

"We’ve been focused on the job at hand," he said. "You’re talking about so many guys who elected to come back to play says a lot about how they feel about this team. That was in spring. This team has great focus and we have a lot of leadership.”

The Sun Devils have some high expectations for the 2021 season after going 2-2 in a COVID-19 shortened season last year.

The team was recently ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press preseason poll. It ranked three spots outside the top 25 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.

But the program does have an NCAA recruiting investigation looming over it and three of its key recruiters on the coaching staff — defensive backs assistant Chris Hawkins, receivers coach Prentice Gill and tight ends coach Adam Breneman — are on administrative leave.

“That decision was made by whoever makes those decisions and that’s where we’re at,” Edwards told Arizona Sports. “Those guys are on administrative leave. They’re still here."

During the interview, Edwards said that he doesn't let outside comments about the program bother him.

“C’mon guys," he told Doug & Wolf. "I’m 67 years old, man, you think I worry about stuff like that?"

"That ain’t who I am, man. I’m focused in on our football team. I don’t worry about that noise outside … I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”

It wasn't the first time Edwards has talked about limiting distractions for his team this season.

Earlier this month he used a baseball analogy for his team in discussing the challenges his team is facing.

"I was a pretty good baseball player, in high school, in pony league, but as I got a little older, I continued to try to play baseball, but I couldn't adapt to the curveball," he said. "That’s kind of like life. Life throws you some curves. If you can’t sit in there and hit it, you’re going to be in trouble. One thing I know about this football team, we handle curveballs. Always have."

He added: “We’re talking to kids. The best recruiting you can ever do is win. We still have to win games, and that’s what we’re practicing to do. We’ve filled those spots with some guys that have been here, so it’s not like we weren’t prepared.”

The Sun Devils were recently given 4/1 odds to win the Pac-12, tied for the second-best odds in the conference.

They are scheduled to open the season Sept. 2 hosting Southern Utah.

Michelle Gardner contributed to this story.

Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona State's Herm Edwards: NCAA investigation not a distraction