Hill Yearns to Finish ASU Career on Top

With his new buzz cut and clean shaven look, the normally rugged looking Jordan Hill is looking more GI and less Grizzly Adams these days. Probably fitting that he has changed his appearance the week of the biggest battle of them all - the rivalry game. And this contest, which may be his last ever as an Arizona State player, naturally takes on greater meaning.

Many superlatives are used to describe the intensity between Arizona State and Arizona. Jordan Hill states that without a doubt, the ferocity of this game could never be exaggerated. "There's so much more emotion in this game. Compared to any other game during the season," he said. "It's the only game you hear about all year, whether you win or lose. When you're out in public, every single person comes up to you and says ‘beat U of A.' So when you go out there, you get goose bumps. You know you have to go out there and get it done and there are a lot more brutal hits than any other game."

The senior defensive tackle is certainly going through a wide array of emotions these days. A couple of days ago, him and his wife Megan celebrated their one-year old daughter Taylor's birthday. All this during a week where the outcome of the rivalry game will ultimately decide whether he will don the maroon and gold for the very last time this Saturday. "It's pretty crazy," he admitted. "You have to focus this week just like it is a normal game week. If you start looking at things like that (reflecting on his last days as a Sun Devil), sometimes it can detract from the things you need to get done on a day-to-day basis."

When Hill first arrived in Tempe, following a two-year Mormon mission, this one-time BYU player, was pegged to play linebacker. Thin numbers at defensive tackle prompted coaches to add dozens of pounds and play in an unfamiliar position. The transition has been seamless, as Hill became one of the team's best at his role. "It really does blow my mind to think about that (position change)," he commented. "Just the other day a guy came up to me and asked: ‘didn't you use to pay linebacker?' Looking back at everything and how it has evolved it has been crazy. At the same time, what a great opportunity to came out here and compete at this level and be able to represent such a great school like Arizona State University. It's a great opportunity."

At 25 years old, he's the elder statesman on the team, and this team captain has taken his responsibilities very seriously – especially on a week such as this. "We try to talk to the young players about the rivalry," he explained, "and implement that in practice, and get them ready. It's a big emotional game. The physical (aspect) is stepped up a notch, and you have to be ready to go out there because it's gonna be a dog fight."

Coming off three consecutive wins, two of them against ranked teams, the Wildcats have certainly garnered the respect of the defensive end and his teammates. "Arizona is playing great right now. In our eyes, they're the best team in America right now, and nobody's giving us a shot," said Hill. "So we have to go out there and take it from them. We have to pressure (Willie) Tuitama, be aware where (Cedric) Steptoe is on the field…they got some good receivers that are elusive out there in the open field. They started out the year slow in the run game, but they've picked it up and that's definitely something we're gearing up for. We just have to fly around and out hit them."

Jordan Hill radiates nothing but a big smile and a pleasant personality. However, when he talks about his team's archrival, his demeanor and ultimately play on the field are sharp in contrast. "It's one of those things that when you tasted the rivalry, you know all about the bitterness about it," he explained. "Being here for four years, I've seen victory and I've seen defeat. The one we lost down there in 2004, when we went 9-3, really stands out and still hurts. This one in my senior year, is now gonna stand out the most and will be the one I most remember. This is one of those games you definitely don't wanna lose and put in everything you got and make sure you finish on top. You want to look back at all those rivalry games with fond memories."

Off the field, his experiences have been joyous to say the least. Hill can only hope that his maroon and gold tenure ends with a positive memory of itself in Tucson on Saturday. "Looking back at the last year and all the events…we just celebrated our daughter's first birthday last Monday. She witnessed a win after she was born and we hope to gets to witness another win and go 2-0. There has been a lot of exciting things that have been going here during my career at ASU. There's a long list of things to be thankful for."

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