Dillingham: Arizona State’s stepped-up recruiting another sign of culture shift

May 23, 2024, 2:01 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm

Arizona State head football coach Kenny Dillingham in studio...

Arizona State football coach Kenny Dillingham visits Bickley & Marotta and the Arizona Sports studios on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. (Sarah Kezele/Arizona Sports)

(Sarah Kezele/Arizona Sports)

Arizona State football is getting a lot of recognition over its recruiting ability since head coach Kenny Dillingham took over the reins in 2023, especially when looking ahead to next year.

As of Thursday, the Sun Devils rank No. 1 atop the Big 12 for their 2025 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. Nationally, ASU sits No. 16.

That kind of recruiting success doesn’t happen without a strong culture, Dillingham told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Thursday.

“We’re very selective over the people we bring into the program,” Dillingham said. “I tell people all the time, ‘Right now, we’re the No. 1 recruiting class in the Big 12.’ They ask, ‘What are you doing?’ Nothing. Our players are recruiting other players, because they like being here. They like the culture that’s being established.

“The best way in my opinion to recruit, the best way to build a culture is once you establish it with you own team. You give your team ownership of who we bring into the locker room and we want to be a part of the team. … I think that’s why you see us having some success early — it’s early, don’t get me wrong — in recruiting.”

Picking up new things

Speaking of teams with budding culture, Dillingham and some of his staff members got a front-row seat as the Arizona Cardinals wrapped up their OTAs on Wednesday.

And much like his program, it’s not hard to see Arizona’s newfound foundation at work.

“The way they communicate, you can tell it’s been in progress for over a year now with how concise they can communicate what they’re thinking while watching film without having to get into a 5-10-minute conversation of dialogue,” Dillingham said. “They can communicate, they know what each other is saying, they know how to fix the issue and then they move along.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed with how the staff communicated to each other and the respect level they have for one another. I think that shows the culture that coach Gannon is creating there.”

Dillingham also came away with learning something new on the coaching side of things.

“I learned a drill right off the bat — I won’t get into details of the drill — but a way to be more efficient during a punt coverage drill that I really liked. That was something I took.”

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Dillingham: Arizona State’s stepped-up recruiting another sign of culture shift