The young Arizona Wildcats safety corps is receiving praise from coach Rich Rodgriguez as the Wildcats take on the Oregon State Beavers, one of the better defenses in college football, on Saturday.
Sophomores Jared Tevis, Tra'Mayne Boundurant and Jourdon Grandon are the foundation of the backfield defense, and were quite the motley crew earlier this spring. Neither were considered much of a cog in the defensive machine as Tevis walked onto the team, Boundurant played only half of last year and Grandon was coming off of suspension.
Rodriguez told the Tuscon Citizen that Tevis impressed coaches in spring - and they made the right call. Tevis has 39 tackles, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in four games.
And he was playing as hard as he could from play 1 to play 90. He was wearing out wideouts. He was knocking helmets off. He's just a tough-ass kid who does everything we ask him to do. He plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Keeping the Wildcats in the game with their defense might be vital as the Arizona Wildcats offensive line has gone through quite a few injuries. But Rodriguez says the drive all three have keeps their focus and their natural talent for the position does the rest.
"A lot of the better players as you go through time, whether it's Ray Lewis or Ed Reed or Tedy Bruschi or Chuck Cecil, I bet all those guys had that one genetic gene that allowed them to trigger things in their mind a step quicker than the average guy," Rodriguez said.
With all three as sophomores, the Wildcats secondary should be pretty good for quite some time.
"Jared probably could have been our player of the week in every week so far," Rodriguez said. "He and Tra'Mayne, they just have a feel for the game."