In his first year as the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Kenny Dillingham has been faced with one big decision for his new team.
Who would be the team’s starting quarterback.
Since the middle of December, it has seemed that there were two main candidates for the job.
One was Trenton Bourget. After more than 2 years on ASU’s bench. Bourget was called into action against the Washington Huskies last year after Emory Jones was injured. Bourget ended up leading the Sun Devils to the shocking upset.
He was made the team’s starter a few weeks later and held onto the job until the end of the season.
Then Dillingham went out got himself a bigger name. The Sun Devils landed Drew Pyne in the transfer portal after Pyne led Notre Dame’s resurgence following a rough first two games. His run as the starter included an impressive win over Clemson.
While they were expected to be the two leading candidates, it turns out neither will be the team’s starter for the Week 1 matchup against Southern Utah.
Instead, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, it will be freshman Jaden Rashada who will get the start.
Breaking ASU football news https://t.co/WKv2pC04oy
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) August 22, 2023
Rashada even becoming an option for the Sun Devils was shocking to begin with. He was set to head to Florida before a huge NIL deal fell through and he reopened his recruitment.
It’s a big decision from the first-time head coach to go with the freshman over two options with much more experience.
However, it could be great for him if it works out.
The Arizona State Sun Devils have been held back by their quarterback play the last few years and that is something they won’t be able to afford when they move to the Big 12. The Big 12 is always loaded with teams that can score.
For this season, there isn’t a ton of pressure on the Sun Devils to win right away as they are coming off of a brutal season and are in their first year with a new coach.
If Jaden Rashada struggles early, he shouldn’t be judged too harshly by fans and no matter what he’ll be getting experience right from the start of his college career.
If he has early success, Kenny Dillingham and the Sun Devils could be set at the position for years to come and they could see a quick turnaround for the program.
It’s a risky move for a first-year coach to unexpectedly turn to a freshman QB right off the bat, but Dillingham could end up looking like a genius if it works out.