Hargis Excited for First Career Start

Naturally, Jon Hargis would rather make his first ever start for the maroon and gold under different circumstances. Yet, now that he does have to fill in for injured defensive tackle Michael Marquardt, the former Mesa Red Mountain standout relishes in the opportunity to run on the field as a first teamer in front of his family and friends at Sun Devil stadium this weekend.

"I'm gonna be fired up for that," said Jon Hargis about his first start. "Having my family here, watch me grow up playing ball…I'm very excited for it. I think there might be some more people coming (to the game) from Red Mountain (smile)."

The magnitude of the event isn't lost on Hargis, nor is his responsibility. "It's a chance for me to shine. They're giving me an opportunity and I have to step up and hope for the best," he stated. "Too bad Mike's ankle is hurt, but they're counting on me. So I'm gonna have to step up and help the team the best I can…I felt good this week. I practiced the same, just working on my technique and fire off the ball. I feel like I was doing the same things like I would prepare for any other game."

Hargis and the Arizona State defensive line will have their hands full on Saturday with a very seasoned and talented Oregon State offensive line. The redshirt freshman also acknowledges the fact that he may be a target due to his inexperience. "They're a physical bunch, and pretty much except for one tackle all returning from last year," he remarked. "I feel pretty confident in my play and they're gonna be coming after me, so I'll have to bring my "A" game for it."

Behind that line stands senior Yvenson Bernard, one of the best running backs in the league. ASU's approach is to stop the senior tailback and take their chances with sophomore Beaver signal caller Sean Canfield. "That's what we're hoping for. We're trying to dominate the front line," Hargis explained. "I think they will try to set up the pass with the run, because they do a lot of play action. If we can hold them and make the quarterback play because he's a little inexperienced…our ultimate goal is for him (Canfield) to beat us. We don't want Bernard to beat us."

Hargis was listed on the depth chart as backing up David Smith. Now that he will be playing alongside Smith, how much of an adjustment will it be for him? "The tackle position is pretty much the same," he replied. "I just have to line up in a different stance. Depending on where the (offensive) lineman is I still have to get in the same stance…nothing really different. Still fire off my stance and get control of the guy in front of me with my hands."

The hype over starting conference play this weekend is something that cannot be overstated, and according to the defensive lineman is certainly not downplayed by the ASU coaches. "They're stressing a lot for us to come out fired up, especially after what happened last year with the way Oregon State beat us," stated Hargis. "We're all talking about how to play them tough and we're ready for it. We're not taking them lightly anyway…we're trying to prove ourselves from last year and earn respect."

Proving oneself is what Hargis has been doing ever since joining his hometown college. He admitted that redshirting his first year was tough, but he does realize the benefits that it did bring. "Overall it does work for the best. You have a whole year to get stronger, bigger, and faster." He added that the work he has put in the weight room was the biggest aspect of his redshirt year that is paying dividends this season.

Hargis has played well enough to be a big part of the rotation of linemen during any given game, and feels that his playing time thus far is a testament to his high level of performance this season. "I feel real excited for how my play as come along," he said. "There's still a lot more improvement for me to come. It's nice stepping up as redshirt freshman making plays, but there's a long road ahead."

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