When the #1 QB prospect in the nation doesn’t go to Arizona State

I’ve never seen a football thrown off the hand of Chandler high school quarterback Dylan Raiola

When he first came up on my radar last fall, I wasn’t aware that he would be the number one 2024 quarterback prospect in America. He wasn’t even playing high school ball in our state. How was I supposed to know that someone of that caliber would show up in the Valley? Last month, when Raiola was given a fifth star and named the best in the country at his position, I was told that Arizona State wasn’t going to be in on the kid. 14.7 miles separate Chandler high’s campus from Sun Devil Stadium and yet the number one quarterback prospect in the nation gave his commitment to Ohio State on Monday night. 

We are a quarterback-rich state. In the last ten years, Valley players at the position like Kyle Allen, Bryce Perkins, Brett Hundley, Ryan Finley, and Brock Purdy have gone on to the NFL. Perkins gave Tempe a shot before transferring out. 

The current list of quarterbacks who flew the coup from local high schools to current college rosters includes Tyler Shough, Jack Plummer, Spencer Rattler, Kedon Slovis, Jacob Conover, Jack Miller, Mikey Keene, Gunner Cruz, Spencer Brasch, Chubba Purdy, Ty Thompson, Kai Millner. I’m sure I’m leaving out a few.  None of them ever made it to Tempe. 

The protectors of the Arizona State brand will say that they had Jayden Daniels, Manny Wilkins, Mike Bercovici, and Taylor Kelly over that same span and they were just fine. They will say that they did sign Ryan Kelley from Basha high school in 2017. Yes, they did. Ryan flipped from Oregon. There was a buzz in the Valley about finally having a local kid under center to root for. Unfortunately for Kelley, his ASU career never took off and he left the program. 

When current Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, a five-star high school prospect, didn’t choose to say home at USC even though he was at national power Mater Dei just down the 405,  there was outrage among the USC faithful. The same should be the case here in the Valley when the top quarterback in the nation decides to go to any place other than Arizona State.  Unfortunately, the infrastructure of the football program and boosters aren’t in place to attract five-star players on an every-year basis.

The goal of a financially struggling athletic department is to put butts in seats for the biggest revenue generator. A five-star quarterback, who plays at Chandler high school, would’ve done that. Fighting to get five-star quarterbacks in your own backyard should always be the recruiting priority…