No place like home for Hood

New ASU coach Todd Graham said that he wants to make securing the top local talent his number one priority in recruiting going forward. The announcement of Saguaro's DJ Foster was a good start, and with national signing day in full swing, the Sun Devils were able to secure the commitment of yet another top local talent by receiving a pledge from Chandler Hamilton defensive tackle Jaxon Hood.

Hood, who had been discreet about his college plans in the days and weeks leading up to signing, announced Thursday in Chandler that he will be staying home and playing for ASU, ending the suspense and providing the Sun Devil defense with a boost of talent and some much needed depth along the line.

"I'm glad it's all over," said an exhausted Hood at Majerle's Bar & Grill Wednesday morning. "All the phone calls and other stuff were really starting to wear on me. I'm happy this (announcement) is all said and done. I know I made the right choice. I'm really excited. I had my doubters that told me I wouldn't be able to do it, so it's just good to finally be here today."

Along with Arizona State, Hood had been heavily pursued by both Arizona and Boston College, amongst others, leaving Sun Devil fans to hold their breath as they awaited his decision. While the decision was difficult for Hood, in the end, home is where he wanted to be.

"It was a long road, with a lot of twists and turns, and ups and downs," said Hood on the recruiting process. "There were some things that just didn't work out along the way, like people getting fired at some of the schools. It really came down to ASU and Boston College. Boston College has some great coaches; some of the best guys I've ever met. I want to wish them the best of luck, but in the end I went with ASU."

"It feels good," he added. "It's a great honor. I couldn't be happier."

The late and much-needed coaching change at Arizona State, which occurred only months ago, ultimately landed the Sun Devils back in the running for Hood, who admitted he didn't have the closest relationship with the previous staff at ASU. Despite that though, Hood says he quickly developed a bond with the new staff and likes the current direction of the program.

"Coach Paul Randolph and the thought of being on the front end of something new," remarked Hood on why he felt most comfortable choosing ASU. "It seems like they're no BS and really get stuff done. Things here at ASU are going to happen fast, it's not going to be no five year plan or whatever. It'll be a one or two year deal."

The Sun Devils will most likely be sporting a new defensive look in the fall, as they transition to Coach Graham's 3-4 scheme, something the 6'0" 280-pound Hood says he looks forward to after discussing his role with the coaches.

"They said they want me at nose guard, definitely, maybe some three shade too," said Hood. "I mean, I like playing everything. I like nose and some three. I like stopping the run, basically just a nose a thing. I like everything."

Despite getting a late start on this year's recruiting cycle with the Sun Devils, Coach Graham has been earnest in his efforts of targeting local players. With Hood now on board, can Sun Devil fans look forward to attracting more talent from Hamilton, one of the state's most prominent prep programs?

"Ha ha yes sir," said an excited Hood. "We'll be getting some new Sun Devils, for sure."

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