Arizona’s Hood savors the moments as college career winds down

Tevin Hood has started at nose guard at Arizona for two seasons after previous stops at Duke and University of San Diego.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona senior Tevin Hood rolled up on his bicycle and was ready for the media to ask the questions. Seems like Hood is always ready to answer questions and give his straight-forward answers.

Smart. Articulate. Clever. Funny. Sometimes all at once.

That’s Hood, who will close out his nomadic career at Arizona against Boston College in Tuesday’s AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La.

"He’s been a good leader for us," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.

And not too bad as the anchor on UA’s defensive line as the nose guard. In two years as a starter, he has 73 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss. He earned honorable mention on the All Pac-12 team and a second-team selection on the all-academic team.

As one of his more than 20,000 tweets said recently: "Always business, never personal."

And seemingly always in motion. Hood often tweets of his experiences while navigating around campus on his bike.

"I’ve had some near-death experiences regularly on that thing," he said. "People have stepped in front of me. I’ve almost had a stiff arm a dude once when he stepped in (his path)."

Work in progress

Other than those annoyance, life has been "cool" to Hood, a former Chandler Hamilton High standout who first attended Duke, then transferred to the University of San Diego and just earned his degree from Arizona last week. Appropriately, he’s got his degree in the Study of American Experience. Boy, did he get his money’s worth.

"I’ve lived a different experience, having lived in dorms, getting to click with dudes who are like brothers," he said, adding tht he still talks to former teammates from Duke. "I still have friends from San Diego. And now here where I’ve become tight with a lot of the dudes. I didn’t even live with them until last year. I don’t now. I live with two girls."

Life could be worse.

When he looks back on his career at Arizona — going from former walk-on to scholarship player while earning a starting job — he said he’ll remember it as a time "when I ran the gambit and learned a lot of lessons. And, if anything, I’ve met the coolest, most loyal people I’ve ever met."

His coaches and teammates are generous in their praise of Hood.

"Tevin is a great guy. He has a great motor," senior guard Chris Putton said. "He’s a quiet guy. He’s always thinking things through. You know he’s going to be successful down the road."

In what? He doesn’t know for sure. Once next week’s game has come and gone, he’ll return to San Diego to get ready for what he hopes is a chance in the NFL. Anything and everything from there is still up in the air. And he’s OK with that.

Growing up he wanted to be in the Drug Enforcement Agency. His love for tattoos (he has 70 or so) has put an end to that.

"Hopefully I can have and make an impact on something," he said. "I really don’t know what. Sometimes when you think about it, you start to overwhelm yourself. The way my life has gone to this point it’s been a series of steps where you can’t think too far ahead. It’s worked out to this point, so if I roll with that theme, I’ll probably get somewhere."

His education will help him get there. His mom is a Duke graduate and an assistant principal at his high school.

"She really forced the education," he said. "It was annoying sometimes, but it pays off. Ever since then it’s kind of like a hard habit to break."

He’s well-read, with his diverse studies including the History of anti-Judaism. And, of course, Outliers: The Story of Success.

The title of his book would be: The Indomitable Flourish.

"There are times when you experience hardships, experience downfalls and experience betrayals and loss, and you can’t let that define you," he said.

It’s one of the reasons why Rodriguez admires the senior.

"When you look at the definition of experience, that’s him," Rodriguez said. "He’s had some experiences. He’s gotten here and paid his dues. I’m pretty proud of him."

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