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Jaden Rashada named Arizona State’s starting QB for 2023 season opener vs. Southern Utah football

The Sun Devils have made a decision for next Thursday, Aug. 31

GRANT HUGHES contributing from 24/7

Freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada will start Arizona State’s 2023 season opener against Southern Utah next Thursday, Aug. 31, SunDevilSource.com‘s Chris Karpman confirmed Tuesday. Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne is not expected to play in the Week 1 game due to a hamstring injury, Karpman added.

“ASU will then evaluate things ahead of Ok St.,” Karpman wrote, referencing the Sun Devils’ Week 2 game Sept. 9 against Oklahoma State.

At least for one week, though, Arizona State ushers in a new era under head coach Kenny Dillingham.

Rashada took extensive first-team reps in the team’s Wednesday scrimmage at Mountain America Stadium, connecting on a deep touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Elijhah Badger that covered around 50 yards in the air. Rashada had another completion to Badger that also went for a long gain, much of which was after the catch.

“He forced the ball down the field, and we hit big plays,” Dillingham said of Rashada’s play. “That’s something that we’ve been lacking in fall camp and spring ball. Today, we hit three big plays over 40 yards today on offense.That’s winning football at this level. Progress for the offense were the explosive plays.”

Pyne did not participate in the scrimmage due to the hamstring injury, which he suffered last week. Junior Trenton Bourguet split first-team reps with Rashada in the scrimmage after each quarterback took a majority of the first-team reps in one of the two practices earlier in the week.

Rashada finished the session 8 of 20 through the air, with no interceptions but a number of freshman-like mistakes that led to incompletions and missed opportunities, according to SunDevilSource.com. Bourguet completed 7 of 13 passes but threw an interception and put three other balls in jeopardy, two of which were in the end zone.

Rashada, a product of Pittsburg (Calif.) High School, committed to Florida on Nov. 10, 2022 but requested his release from his Letter of Intent in January after NIL negotiations fell through. He committed to Arizona State Feb. 1 as a four-star prospect ranked as the No. 44 player nationally and No. 6 quarterback in the class of 2023. He is the third-highest-ranked quarterback to commit to ASU since 2000.

“He’s just a great person,” Dillingham said of Rashada in February. “You get caught up in media. Media is media, and y’all are part of the media. The narrative is the narrative. The narrative is what sells. I think sometimes when you get caught up in a narrative that’s fun to write about, your name can get put in ways that it shouldn’t. This is a really, really good kid who wanted to be an Arizona State Sun Devil, whose dad played at Arizona State, who grew up wearing jerseys, who drew a picture and gave it to his dad when he was eight years old of him playing at Sun Devil Stadium. It was in pencil. He showed it to me. This is a kid who gets to live out his dream, and that is pretty special.”

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