ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Jaden Rashada ramping up from thumb injury as ASU spring ball continues

Apr 9, 2024, 2:04 PM

Quarterback Jaden Rashada #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils throws a pass during the first half of...

Quarterback Jaden Rashada #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils throws a pass during the first half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Mountain America Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Quarterback Jaden Rashada has returned to spring practices for the Sun Devils. The redshirt freshman took increased reps of individual drills on Tuesday after having offseason surgery on his thumb.

Rashada, who threw during team drills on Saturday, was reportedly expected to miss all of spring practices after the procedure on his thumb.

However, both he and wide receiver Elijhah Badger were in action Tuesday doing mostly independent work. Badger had been dealing with a back injury dating back to the 2023 regular season.

Head coach Kenny Dillingham didn’t expect to have Rashada back so soon but added it will be a slow buildup back into gear for the former four-star recruit.

“I didn’t expect we’d have him for team periods,” Dillingham said. “Those guys shouldn’t be back for team. We’ll get some guys back for (independent work) throughout the next couple of weeks and the last few weeks of practice.”

Rashada played in three games last season and led the team with four touchdowns. He completed 53.7% of his passes for 485 yards and three interceptions and will be competing with fellow redshirt freshman and Michigan State transfer Sam Leavitt for the starting job.

Wide receiver Jordyn Tyson said he loved having Rashada back in the fold. They both came to ASU last year when Tyson was a transfer from Colorado and Rashada was a freshman.

“I can’t wait for Jaden to get back on the field soon. We’re going to take it deep,” Tyson said. “He’s my dog. He’s a really cool person. We used to kick it all the time when I first got here. He was one of the first people to come up to me when I got to the team.”

Even with Badger and Xavier Guillory (foot injury) out of full team drills, the wide receiver group has been one to watch. Tyson, Melquan Stovall and Troy Omeire have all been turning heads during spring.

“They’re pretty good,” Dillingham said about the position group. “I think we have versatility in the group. We’ve got some smaller guys who are shifty. We got some guys who are great with the ball in their hands, and some who are bigger, longer and good down the field. We have a variety of skill sets.”

But the Sun Devils won’t have the coaching — nor the recruiting savvy — of Rashaad Samples leading that group after he accepted a position with the Oregon Ducks this week.

“Nothing but respect. He’s going to a great place with a great person (in Oregon head coach Dan Lanning),” Dillingham said of losing Samples. “Thankful for him being here. Still think he has a bright future in this profession.

“That’s the nature … is we can either freak out and panic or we can just coach.”

Dillingham said replacing Samples will take as long as it needs for Arizona State to find the right fit.

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