What if the 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year Will Sutton decided to turn pro instead of come back for his senior season? Who would be the player on the defensive line that opposing quarterbacks and offensive coaches would have to worry about the most?
The answer to the second question would be Freshman All-American Jaxon Hood.
Hood, the son of former Arizona Cardinals’ defensive lineman Eric Swann, played in all 13 games his freshman season. He recorded three sacks and had four tackles for loss as a part of a Sun Devils’ defensive unit that led the NCAA in tackles for loss last season.
“Personally, I don’t think last season was my personal best,” said Hood. “I am not satisfied with anything and my focus is to win every day.”
In the spring game on Saturday afternoon, Hood played very well, anchoring the first-team defensive line for the majority of the day as Will Sutton was limited. He recorded three tackles and was constantly pressuring the quarterbacks.
“We played with high energy and high intensity,” said Hood about the defense’s performance. ”We used good technique and played hard today.”
The defensive line will be the catalyst for any hopes of the Sun Devils getting to Pasadena in January. Junior Onyeali and Davon Coleman come back along with Hood and Sutton to a unit that combined for the second-most sacks in the Pac-12. Hood senses the urgency and is excited about the possibility to build something special.
“Kids want to play for a winning program,” said Hood. “The bottom line is that we have to win and not make excuses.”
Hood appears to be in good shape to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. He plays with a quick motor. He is also surrounded by upperclassmen that can help mold him into a leader on the defense. Most importantly, he gets to play with the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year for another season on the defensive line. Hood has the potential to team up with Sutton to make this the most dominant defensive line in the history of Arizona State football.