ASU football’s Dillingham setting up QB competition with no promises

Feb 1, 2023, 5:05 PM | Updated: 5:30 pm
Quarterback Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Sun Devils warms up before the game against t...
Quarterback Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Sun Devils warms up before the game against the Oregon State Beavers at Sun Devil Stadium on November 19, 2022 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Arizona State football is setting up a competitive quarterbacks room with three newcomers in 2023.

Transfers Jacob Conover from BYU and Drew Pyne from Notre Dame joined Trenton Bouguet in the competition this offseason, and Wednesday brought another competitor.

Jaden Rashada, a four-star quarterback and former Florida Gators commitment, announced on social media he will be a Sun Devil next season.

For head coach Kenny Dillingham, hand outs are not on the table, as the room is set up to bring the most out of each competitor.

“Everything’s about competition,” Dillingham told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday.

“I tell every person that it doesn’t matter if you are a three-year starter or if you are a true freshman or a transfer, it’s about competition. And if you truly want to be great, you better surround yourself with people who can push you to your limits … It’s my job as a coach to create a structure that challenges you and pushes you to your limit, while at the same time you’re comfortable enough to flourish. There’s a fine line there.”

Dillingham could not comment on Rashada specifically, but he has since become an official Sun Devil.

Conover was a four-star recruit from Chandler High School with ASU running backs coach Shaun Aguano, Pyne started 10 games for the Fighting Irish in 2022, Bourguet won the starting gig for ASU at the tail end of last season and Rashada is ranked 44th overall by 247Sports in the 2023 recruiting class.

Rashada added to the mix will increase the intrigue of spring practices, with the annual Spring game set for April 15 at Sun Devil Stadium.

Dillingham said his philosophy is to not promise players anything because of the potential damage, be it complacency or breaking the promise if a change needs to be made.

“I’m going to operate saying ‘If you come here, you’re going to work harder than anybody in the country. If you come here, I can guarantee you that you’re going to compete, and I can guarantee you that I’m going to do everything I can to make you successful in life,'” Dillingham said. “I’m not going to make promises that I can’t come through with.”

Dillingham is looking to establish a culture under his regime after getting hired as head coach on Nov. 27. The Sun Devils went 3-9 last year and have revamped most of the coaching staff.

Offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin is someone Dillingham trusts the help his quarterbacks as a veteran coach in many offensive areas. Dillingham pointed out Baldwin’s pedigree as a champion having won the 2010 FCS title as the head coach of Eastern Washington.

“When I looked at coaches, I look at people who can teach,” Dillingham said. “What it boils down to is when you sit in a meeting room, can you teach somebody a concept? Can you teach them the why behind something? And this is a guy who’s obviously been a leader at a high level, who’s a phenomenal teacher. So I think him with the quarterbacks room, us merging a little bit of what we do, I just think it’s an unbelievable circumstance for Arizona State.”

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