TEMPE - Few places in America live, breathe and have a pedigree for producing football talent like the East Valley of Arizona does.
There is so much raw skill in this area of Arizona that many would consider the talent pool overflowing. That pool has garnered the attention of the best programs in the country, including, but not limited to, Oregon, Southern California, Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State.
A school that was rarely mentioned though, in the pursuit of homegrown product, is the one located just minutes down the 101: ASU.
Notice how I said was.
Since newly appointed head coach Kenny Dillingham was given the keys to the car, he’s been fast to act on a multitude of fronts, none more crucial than getting kids to come home.
Yes, this column is the good, bad and ugly, but for the new coach we’ll do the good, great, and awesome.
The Good: Bringing back Shaun Aguano
Dillingham was eager to announce that coach Aguano would be staying on staff during his introductory press conference, and while it’s a move that seems so long ago due to all the positive things around the program (we’ll touch on that later) it’s a move that can not be talked about enough.
Nobody knows the Arizona high school football scene better than Aguano. His relationships with coaches in the area, and his approach to recruiting in Arizona has and will be essential to turning this program around. They’re off to a good start.
The Great-Transfer Portal excitement
No Sun Devil fan, coach or insider would tell you that they thought this program would have a lot of guys returning. That’s just the age we live in now. The transfer portal is so vital to a programs success, and Dillingham and company haven’t wasted any time using it to their advantage. Every day for the past week, new posts and alerts are coming from Arizona natives who have announced that they are returning home to don the maroon and gold.
Tristan Monday, Krew Jackson, DeCarlos Brooks and Jacob Conover are all coming back to the Grand Canyon state, Jalin Conyers confirmed that he’s staying in Tempe, and Elijhah Badger looks to do be doing the same.
Getting your biggest playmakers to stay and getting elite talent to come home is no small feat for a program that was bogged down in uncertainty for so long. Dillingham has worked fast, and so far it’s working.
Long story short, Dillingham’s staff is filling out nicely, he’s putting a heavy emphasis on recruiting in Arizona, is getting players to come back and buy in, what about those three things doesn’t inspire excitement?
Obviously, it’s hard to fully judge until they play a game, but the start could not be better.
Hats off to you coach, the future is bright.
Dilly Dilly indeed.