‘Curveball:’ Arizona State football surprised as Ed Woods enters transfer portal

Apr 22, 2024, 1:58 PM | Updated: 3:47 pm

Kenny Dillingham during a game...

Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Kenny Dillingham gestures to a player during the college football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 25, 2023 at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

TEMPE — It’s been an eventful week for the Sun Devils.

After top offensive talents Jaden Rashada and Elijhah Badger announced they were transferring out of the program, Arizona State had one of its better recruiting weekends in the Kenny Dillingham era.

Dillingham referred to their recruiting situation as a “trending” one.

“There are people all over the country wanting to be here,” Dillingham said Monday. “This is a place that I take a lot of pride in. And a fallback plan is not one of those problems. This is not a fallback plan for me.

“This was the plan. We’re gonna sign people here that have this as their plan 100%.”

However, not all news was good news for the Sun Devils.

247Sport’s Matt Zenitz reported on Monday as practice was about to get going that veteran cornerback Ed Woods would be transferring out of the program. The redshirt senior appeared in 32 games for the Sun Devils after being part of the 2020 recruiting class.

Woods’s decision to enter the transfer portal came as a surprise to Dillingham, who hadn’t been told by Woods of any transfer plans.

Woods has been running with the starting group all spring and was expected to be in line for a starting position come fall.

“That was still an up-in-the-air thing when we took practice. So I don’t know the validity to anything like that,” Dillingham said. “I think I can help him get to where he wants to go. But if that’s not here, then that is a loss for us. That wasn’t one that I expected up to this point. That would be one that’s a curveball.”

Dillingham mentioned that moving Keith Abney II back to the corner from safety could be an option. Getting another player out of the transfer portal could also be in play.

However, if there is any position group that could afford to lose a player, it’s the secondary.

The secondary has had standout after standout, whether it is Abney II, Xavion Alford or Cole Martin. Washington State transfer Javan Robinson and redshirt freshman Montana Warren have also made their mark already.

“Our cornerback room is really young, and I’m one of the older guys. So it was like just teaching those guys what to do, what not to do and taking those guys under my wing, that’s my role.” Robinson said.

There will be multiple players gunning for Woods’s role, the question being now, who is going to get it?

Arizona State football recruiting hits a stride over last week

Since the beginning of April, the Sun Devils have seen five recruits commit to the program. Arizona State is ranked No. 18 overall in the national recruiting rankings for 2025 according to 247Sports.

Adrian Wilson, a four-star wide receiver from Texas, committed to the program on Friday. Wilson was Arizona State’s first four-start recruit so far this offseason.

Wilson continues the popular ‘Texas to Tempe’ movement that has been a theme for Dillingham and recruiting in the 18 months he’s been at the helm of the program. The Sun Devils also received some help from their local pipeline.

Rylon Dillard-Allen, a three-star defensive back from Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, committed to the Sun Devils on Monday.

According to’s Chris Karpman, Dillard-Allen has had the highest rating of any in-state commitment since 2017.

It’s been a busy month on defense for coordinator Brian Ward and cornerbacks coach Bryan Carrington.

Four of the most recent recruits, including Dillard-Allen, are defensive backs. Benjamin Alefaio, Isaiah Iosefa and Xavier Skowron are all three-star recruits.

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