He grabbed a starting job in fall camp, made 11 starts and was named a Freshman All-American. Now, Arizona State defensive tackle Jaxon Hood tells House of Sparky the biggest difference with the college game, his favorite moment of beating UofA, and what he sees in the future for Sun Devil football.
House of Sparky: With nearly a full season under your belt, how has the college game compared to your expectations coming out of high school?
Jaxon Hood: When you prepare, it's not as rough and as fast as you think it would be, because I think once you go through camp, you get the swing of everything. By the time you get to a game, it's just kind of usual to you by then after you go through fall camp with all of these guys. You got to play with a better technique because everyone is strong, everyone is kind of quick, but if you prepare right, you still can do your thing.
HoS: How do you evaluate your freshman season?
JH: I think I did pretty well. I did my job. I wasn't as big of a playmaker as I wanted to be, but I think that comes with experience and game reps. I did well. I took on double teams really well, and as the season went on, I became a better pass rusher.
HoS: You were named a freshman All-American by Fox Sports NEXT. What do those honors mean to you?
JH: It means a lot, because that was my goal coming into the season. When I heard that I was named that, I was very happy.
HoS: Do you think that you and DJ earning the honors that you have will help to draw other top local talent to ASU?
JH: Without a doubt. It just shows that being a local kid and coming into a system that really welcomes you, it really pays off.
HoS: What were your thoughts on your first Duel in the Desert experience? What were some of your favorite moments?
JH: The favorite moment was that play where I wrapped up Matt Scott's legs and Keelan stripped the ball and it got kicked around and hearing the crowd go up and down and up and down. And that last momentum swing was just awesome to be a part of.
HoS: How important was it for this team to bring home the Cup in Coach Graham's first season?
JH: It just makes the season. It was the most important game, without a doubt. It was huge.
HoS: You played alongside a consensus All-American in Will Sutton this year. Describe the impact he had on you both on and off the field.
JH: He was a great mentor to me, and a great friend. He taught me a lot of tricks and he always kept my head screwed on straight during games. I can't say enough good things about Will.
HoS: How much fun has it been to play in a defense that is built on aggression and attacking the offense?
JH: It's lots of fun, knowing that you're going to go out there and hit someone in the mouth. You don't have to read, you can just go. It allows you to go out and play a lot more loosey goosey.
HoS: How is the team preparing to shut down Navy's triple-option?
JH: It's all assignment football. I think we are preparing really well. We're practicing without a ball, sticking to everyone's assignment.
HoS: What things excite you most about the future of this program?
JH: I know that we're going to do big things. We're going to have 10, 11, 12-win seasons. I just know we are and I'm just excited about it.