Freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada will start in the Sun Devils’ season opener and debut game under coach Kenny Dilligham versus Southern Utah on Aug. 31 at Mountain America Stadium.
Rashada competed with Notre Dame transfer quarterback Drew Payne, returning quarterback Trenton Bourguet and BYU transfer Jacob Conover through training camp for the starting position.
While it was speculated that Bourguet would consume role as a starter to due his leadership and play late last season, the high upside and athleticism of Rashada may provide Dillingham’s offense more potential. Dillingham nodded at Rashada’s ability to hit the big plays throughout camp after Payne was sidelined with a hamstring injury on Aug. 12. He has since not practiced.
Rashada, a four-star recruit and former Florida Gator commit, played in Pittsburg, Ca., last season where he threw for 5,275 yards and 59 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. His commitment to ASU boosted the Devils class from 46th to 27th nationally. His 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame will allow him to grow into his body while producing speed and touch on the ball. Rashada was ranked the No. 6 quarterback by 247 Sports and has is dubbed to have an NFL-type arm.
However, the connection between Rashada and Tempe extends beyond Dillingham’s recruiting. Rashada’s father, Harlen, played defensive back for the Sun Devils from 1990-92.
Dillingham has not made comments about his decision on the starting position, but will likely answer questions after practice later this week.
Payne threw for 2,021 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 66 percent of his passes in 2022 for Notre Dame.
Bourguet stepped up for the Sun Devils in 2022 and tossed the rock for 1,490 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions off 71 percent completion. While he is entering his fifth year with the program Bourguet saw playing time last season after former Devils quarterback Emory Jones was sidelined with injury. Bourguet replaced Jones against Washington where he led the Devils to a 45-38 upset led by his 182 yards and three scores.
Bourguet recorded his first career start against Colorado where he again led the Devils to a 42-34 victory behind his 435 yards and three scores.
Despite this, Rashada will be the first true freshman to Start for the Sun Devils since Jayden Daniels in 2019. Daniels started for the Devils for three years before transferring to LSU where he exploded in the national spotlight.
If Rashada continues his upward trejectory, ASU and Dillingham may have themselves a young gunslinger.