The “anchor” of the Arizona Wildcats defense

It is been an amazing road for Arizona Wildcats senior defensive tackle Tevin Hood.

The local Arizona standout started his college career at Duke University then transferred to the University of San Diego for the 2011 season.

Arizona then was put on his radar while he was driving his younger brother Jaxon (current ASU sophomore defensive tackle) on a recruiting trip to Tucson. Hood told the Arizona Daily Star a year ago that Rich Rodriguez made him more serious about football. Hood then joined the Wildcats after receiving an NCAA waiver as a walk-on before the start of the 2012 season.

Fast forward to today, he is one of the leaders on an improving Arizona defense.

“He’s a solid guy,” said Rodriguez of Hood. “He’s kind of our anchor. We need him to play a lot of plays…I think he is the key for us up front.”

It’s not often you hear something like that from a coach about a former walk-on and a guy who stands just six feet tall which is small for that position at this level of play.

However, if you ask Hood, the smaller guys like him are always the tougher ones to deal with.

“I never had height but had heart,” said Hood. “I think we (smaller players) play more ferociously than people who are bigger. I say bigger loosely but even the bigger dudes I go up against, I feel like I am stronger than them.”

“I feel like we are more relentless and ferocious because we are “undersized,”” he added.

Hood is off to a good start to the 2013 season for the Wildcats. He has ten total tackles including two for a loss and a sack though three games. But Rich Rod notes that there is a lot he does that doesn’t make the stat sheet for the defense.

An important factor for the Wildcats defensive line as a whole as opposed to a season ago is that there is depth. A year ago in battling injuries and lack of depth, really only at most four players were in the d-line rotation. Now there is upwards of seven every game which is big for the defense which is only in the second year of this particular system.

“There is a better understanding defensively because it’s our second year,” said Rodriguez. “We have a little more depth and more guys are able to play than there were a year ago and were healthier certainly more than where we were a year ago at this time.

“Depth for one thing but I also think we are more comfortable in the scheme,” mentioned Hood. “We are able to blitz a lot more than we were last year, we run some different line stunts than we were able to last year as well so now we are more moving targets where as last year we were stationary.”

Hood and the Wildcats are on a bye this week but are back at it on September 28th in what will be their toughest test of 2013, a road game against number 17th ranked Washington to begin conference play.