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Jayden Daniels to be ASU’s first true freshman QB to start season opener

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards announced Monday night that true freshman Jayden Daniels will be the team’s starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

If Daniels takes the first snap under center for the Sun Devils on Aug. 29 against Kent State, he will become the first true freshman to start a season opener in school history.

Daniels wins the quarterback competition that included three total true freshmen — Daniels, Joey Yellen and Ethan Long — and redshirt junior Dillon Sterling-Cole. While Sterling-Cole has the most experience, nearly all of that came in 2016 when he filled in for a then-injured Manny Wilkins and Brady White. He redshirted in 2017 and threw two total passes last season.

The No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class, Daniels was being looked at by Alabama, Georgia and nearly every team in the Pac-12. He committed to ASU in mid-December, and along with Yellen, enrolled early to get a jump on the competition with Sterling-Cole.

Yellen was named the backup for the moment.

Daniels takes the place of Wilkins, who fought off big-time transfers and won multiple competitions to be the team’s starting quarterback each of the last three seasons. He ended his ASU career with 8,624 yards passing, 52 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

ASU’s biggest threat through the air last season isn’t returning but most of the weapons are back for Daniels.

N’Keal Harry went to the NFL Draft and was selected in the first round by the New England Patriots. Harry caught 73 balls for over 1,000 yards and no other Sun Devil caught more than 50 or compiled over 500 receiving yards. But the next names down the leaderboard — Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Williams and Frank Darby — are all coming back.

So too is junior running back Eno Benjamin, who is coming off a monster season on the ground of 1,642 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. He was named to the preseason All-American Second Team.

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