Kerry Crowley: Last season, the Sun Devil defense made major strides and one of the main reasons was the presence of freshman defensive tackle Jaxon Hood. Hood represents so much for this team and in my opinion, is one of the four most important defenders (Sutton, Bradford, Darby being the others). After contributing 23 tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks as a frosh, Fox Sports NEXT named Hood to it's Second Team Freshman All-American squad.
So the question is, "What can the homegrown talent do for an encore?" If I had to guess his stats next season, I feel like my conservative estimations would be 40 tackles and five sacks. I think the playmakers that surround Hood are going to force teams to challenge the young gun, and I believe he has the talent to respond. If opponents want to pass against Arizona State, they're going to send their best blockers to Will Sutton and Carl Bradford, and I see Jaxon Hood taking advantage of enough opportunities to come away with five sacks.
Ryan Bafaloukos: I really like what Jaxon Hood brings to this defense and I believe he is poised for a breakout season. Hood can line up at inside or outside and has enough playmakers around him that he won't see a lot of double teams. It will be interesting to see how the sophomore is used because of the talent along the defensive line. With Sutton and Hardison inside Hood may be used more outside with Davon Coleman and Junior Onyeali.
I think that with Sutton garnering more double teams, Hood may collect seven or eight sacks this season. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage and has one more year learning technique and playing in the defense.
Ben Haber: I understand Jaxon Hood only tallied three sacks during his freshman campaign, but placing the over-under at five is downright disrespectful. Hood will get over five sacks, and I would be be intrigued to hear any of my co-workers argue differently. At 6'0 tall and 287 pounds, scouts and critics continuously use the small stature against Hood. However, through determination and hard work, Hood deserves to be expected to deliver more than five sacks. In addition, playing alongside All-American Will Sutton can only help Hood produce at a high level.
Hood posses incredible lower body strength, with calves eerily similar to tree trunks. Beyond the physique, he gets off the ball very quickly and makes crisp moves to get after the quarterback. I expect Hood to wreak havoc and exponentially improve from last year.
Cody Ulm: Not gonna stray from the pack here. Hood is an absolute lock for at least five sacks. Take it to the bank, folks; I'm that confident. In my opinion, Hood will be the main beneficiary of all the attention Sutton will be receiving from opposing offensive coordinators. And with his ability to move across the line, there's no reason to think that he won't be able to reach this easily achievable milestone.
As Ryan pointed out, I think the addition of Hardison in the middle will certainly help as well. It's just going to come down to whether or not Hood made the appropriate strides in the offseason and I have no reason to think he didn't. The only way I see this not happening is if Graham decides to put more beef up front to stop the run. But ASU doesn't have a ton of heavier linemen readily available, and they'll likely sacrifice power for speed and penetration once again.
Do you think Jaxon Hood will hit five sacks this year? Do you think any of our writers are insane? Let us know in the comments section!
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