ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Jaden Rashada to start ASU football opener vs. Southern Utah

Aug 22, 2023, 11:54 AM | Updated: 11:59 am

Jaden Rashada, Arizona State starting QB...

Arizona State quarterback Jaden Rashada speaks to reporters after the team's spring game. on April 15, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. (Jeremy Schnell / Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell / Arizona Sports)

Freshman quartertback Jaden Rashada will start the Arizona State Sun Devils’ season opener and Kenny Dillingham’s debut as head coach on Aug. 31 against Southern Utah, reports Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

Rashada, a former Florida Gators commit, competed with Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne, returning Sun Devil quarterback Trenton Bourguet and BYU transfer Jacob Conover through spring and fall camps for the starting job.

Pyne, who remained a challenger to win the job, injured his hamstring during practice at Camp Tontozona on Aug. 12. Since, Dillingham has spoken of steps taken on Rashada’s end, especially his ability to hit explosive plays down the field.

Pyne completed 65% of his passes for 2,021 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Fighting Irish last season.

Bourguet brought his own experience, playing in seven games for the Sun Devils in 2022 and completing 71% of his passes for 1,490 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Rashada threw for 5,275 yards at Pittsburg last season, with 59 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

How did Jaden Rashada land at ASU before becoming the starting QB?

Rashada is from Pittsburg, Calif., and ranked 44th overall by 247Sports in the 2023 recruiting class. His father, Harlen Rashada, played defensive back at Arizona State (1992-94).

He was the first big-fish get for Dillingham, who as an assistant with Florida State recruited Rashada to Tallahassee and then again last year when Dillingham was offensive coordinator at Oregon.

Rashada’s commitment alone leapfrogged ASU from 46th to 27th nationally in the pre-signing day rankings.

Florida granted Rashada a release from his National Letter of Intent in January, three days after he requested to be let go.

Rashada’s decision came after the Gator Collective — an independent fundraising group that’s loosely tied to the university and pays student-athletes for use of their name, image and likeness — failed to honor a four-year deal worth more than $13 million, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side acknowledged the split publicly.

Rashada switched his verbal commitment from Miami to Florida on Nov. 10. Rashada, his representatives and the Gator Collective had presumably agreed to terms on a lucrative NIL deal at the time of his flip.

One of Florida’s top boosters, millionaire businessman Hugh Hathcock, tweeted “Tomorrow will be a Great Day Gator Fans!!!” the night before Rashada’s announcement. The following day, less than five hours before Rashada publicly announced his flip, Hathcock tweeted “All Good!!! Just a little longer!!!”

The deal fell apart less than a month later. The Athletic reported that Gator Collective CEO Eddie Rojas sent a termination letter to Rashada and his reps on Dec. 7. It’s unclear why the deal crumbled, but a source with knowledge of the negotiations told the AP that not all of the financial backers were aware that the signed deal had increased from roughly $5 million over four years to more than $13 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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