Kenny Dillingham speaks on ASU's 2024 recruiting class and on the transfer portal.
TEMPE, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Kenny Dillingham and his staff have signed 17 high school players in their first full recruiting cycle at Arizona State. The early signing period opened on Wednesday and closes Friday.
247Sports currently ranks ASU's 2024 high school class as the 52nd in the country and 8th in the Big 12.
While Sun Devil fans had hoped for a higher rated class, but Dillingham believes they addressed key areas of need.
"I thought our class we got bigger up front and longer in the back end, linebacker included," Dillingham said on Thursday. "And I think that was one of our goals, to become a bigger defense, become a bigger offense. We needed to become a bigger team. The games that got really out of control for us came when we really faced size. So we tried to attack that and clean that up."
The Sun Devils only signed four players from the state of Arizona. Ramar Williams from Eastmark High School in Mesa was the highest rated, coming in as the 17th ranked player in the state. However, Dillingham believes in-state recruiting will drastically improve in the next cycle.
"I always knew it was going to take two years," he said. "“I anticipate us making a few splashes with the top dudes in the state this year [class of 2025] and if we don’t, I failed."
Dillingham expects around eight or nine of the signees to enroll for the spring semester.
Since becoming the head coach in November 2022, Dillingham has found great success acquiring talent in the transfer portal. ASU currently has 14 committed transfers and the 8th ranked transfer portal class in the nation (247Sports).
ASU notably brought in former 4-star and Michigan State transfer quarterback Sam Leavitt. Leavitt is in the same class as Jaden Rashada, who won the starting job in the fall and started every game he was healthy for. Some thought Rashada might jump in the portal, but that hasn't happened and Dillingham says, Rashada is not afraid of the competition.
“I have two freshman who are really good players that aren’t scared to compete," Dillingham said. "I don’t need a senior we’ll take these two guys and I’ll ride or die”
ASU has also brought in former 5-star and USC running back Raleek Brown. Dillingham said that he feels that Brown, who played both running back and receiver for the Trojans, is a running back. He also likened Brown's electric skillset to that of current Philadelpia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell, who Dillingham coached at Memphis.
Dillingham noted that they still have work to do in addressing positions of need, such as offensive tackle, but says the process of recruiting in the portal differs from players straight out of high school.
"Its dating vs speed dating," Dillingham said. "I mean you have two weeks to get to know these guys, sometimes one. Now its dead. For anybody who goes into the portal, you may not even meet them. You might just meet them on Facetime. I think the key is, what i firmly believe in that honesty and trying to help them . So i think for us, its who wants to be here, and recruiting them the same. You have to recruit them faster when theyre in the portal, yes, because you don't know as much about them. But its the same vetting process and the same type of kid with the same vision and plan."
The transfer portal will close on January 3rd until April 14th. During this period, no new players can enter the portal, and no new contacts can be made between players and coaches. However, players who entered the portal before January 2 can still transfer after that date if they have not signed a financial aid agreement with another school.
ASU 2024 High School Signees (all ratings according to 247Sports):
Jason Brown: 4-star RB; Seattle, WA
Jayden Fortier: 4-star TE; Tualatin, OR
Terrell Kim: 3-star IOL; Medford, OR
Rodney Bimage: 3-star CB; Dickinson, TX
Chris Johnson Jr.: 3-star CB; Aledo, TX
Filiva'a Saluni: 3-star IOL; Kahuku, HI
Albert Smith: 3-star LB; Ponchatoula, LA
Zechariah Sample: 3-star ATH; Fulshear, TX
Ramar Williams: 3-star DL; Mesa, AZ (Eastmark High School)
Semisi Tonga: 3-star IOL; Salt Lake City, UT
Champ Westbrooks: 3-star IOL; Los Angeles, CA (Loyola High School)
Salesi Manu: 3-star Edge; Reno, NV
Martell Hughes: 3-star S; San Diego, CA (Madison High School)
Tony-Louis Nkuba: 3-star CB; Lewisville, TX
Plas Johnson: 3-star WR/DB; Scottsdale, AZ (Chaparral High School)
James Giggey: 3-star DL; Prescott Valley, AZ (Bradshaw Mountain)
Kanyon Floyd: 3-star P; Scottsdale, AZ (Horizon High School)
ASU 2024 Committed Transfers (all stars transfer ratings according to 247Sports):
Raleek Brown: 4-star RB; USC
Kamari Wilson: 3-star S; Florida
Joey Su'a: 3-star IOL; Arkansas
Zyrus Fiaseu: 3-star LB; San Diego State
Jordan Crook: 3-star LB; Arkansas
Sam Leavitt: 3-star QB; Michigan State
Justin Wodtly: 3-star Edge; Cincinatti
Markeston Douglas: 3-star TE; Florida State
JP Deeter: 3-star DL; Purdue
Laterrance Welch: 3-star CB; LSU
Cameron Harpole: 3-star TE; San Diego State
Javan Robinson: 3-star CB; Washington State
Shancco Matautia: 3-star IOL; New Mexico
Tyler Wigglesworth: LS; NAU