22 Arizona State A playmaking defender who's part corner and part linebacker has the Sun Devils stalking the Pac-10

August 10, 2003

Jason Shivers couldn't afford to play Pop Warner football when he
was a kid growing up in Phoenix, but he still got two important
things out of the youth league: a passion for the game--though he
lacked a uniform, he went to all the practices and rehearsed the
drills at home--and the inspiration to make money. He got his
entrepreneurial start selling tomato plants to his neighbors, and
now the Wildcats' junior free safety is incorporating the
business he started in high school, Shivers Landscaping, which
has 10 employees. Eventually he hopes to add a car wash and a
minimart and more workers. "We've got a lot of deals going on
right now," says Shivers, whose major combines business study and
landscape architecture and whose list of adult responsibilities
also include a three-year-old daughter, Takia, and a recently
purchased house. "Fortunately, my business partner is running
most things right now."

On the field the 6'1", 197-pound Shivers doesn't have the luxury
of delegating any of his myriad duties. As the free safety in the
Sun Devils' nickel defense, Shivers is the key playmaker,
responsible for calling signals and stopping both the run and the
pass. "He has to be part cornerback, covering a slot receiver
when we're blitzing; he has to be a free safety in some
coverages; and in the run game he's a linebacker," says Sun
Devils coach Dirk Koetter. "It's a demanding position.
Fortunately Jason has both confidence in his ability and actual
ability."

The Arizona state champion in the 100-and the 200-meter dashes in
his senior year at South Mountain High, Shivers has speed,
stamina and the ability to take down opponents who sometimes
outweigh him by 50 pounds. In 2001 he became the first Sun Devil
to lead the team in tackles as a freshman, with 89; in his
sophomore year he again was tops, with 121. "My position comes
with a lot of heat," says Shivers, "but I love it because I get
to be the quarterback of the defense."

His counterpart on offense, Heisman candidate Andrew Walter,
completed 56.7% of his passes for 28 touchdowns and a school
record 3,877 yards despite starting only the final 10 games as a
sophomore last year. Walter will no longer have Shaun McDonald,
who's gone to the NFL, as a target, but he will be able to count
on a more experienced offensive line--five linemen return--and an
improved running game.

Despite the early departures of McDonald and All-America
defensive end Terrell Suggs, the Sun Devils hope to challenge for
more than the Pac-10 title this year. "My eyes are set on the
biggest prize, New Orleans and the national championship," says
Shivers. You can be sure he means business. --Kelli Anderson

COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER FEARSOME SIGHT The defensive game plan in Tempe is meant to send Shivers down the spine of opposing ballcarriers.

FAST FACTS

2002 RECORD 8-6 (5-3, T3 in Pac-10)
FINAL AP RANK NR
RETURNING STARTERS 17

KEY RETURNEES (2002 stats)

QB Andrew Walter (Jr.)
First 3,000-yard passer in Sun Devils history

WR Daryl Lightfoot (Jr.)
Deep threat scored 85-yard TD against Cal

WR Derek Hagan (Soph.)
Set school record for freshmen with 32 catches

FS Riccardo Stewart (Jr.)
Co-captain sat four games with bum shoulder

FS Jason Shivers (Jr.)
Tied for Pac-10 lead in tackles (121)

TELLING NUMBER

4
Games last year in which Andrew Walter threw for more than 400
yards, most ever in a single season by a Pac-10
quarterback.

SMART MOVE

To bolster a thin tackle corps, Regis Crawford played left tackle
last year. But for his senior season the 6'3", 304-pound Crawford
has been shifted back to right guard, his natural spot. That
should pay big dividends this fall, strengthening the middle of
the line and improving the running game.

SCHEDULE

SEPT. 6 NO. ARIZONA
13 UTAH STATE
20 at Iowa
27 at Oregon State
OCT. 4 USC
11 OREGON
18 at NORTH CAROLINA
25 at UCLA
NOV. 1 CAL
8 at Stanford
15 at Washington State
28 ARIZONA

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)