PITTSBURGH STEELERS 2009 FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK EVANDER "ZIGGY" HOOD DEFENSIVE TACKLE 32nd Overall Listen To Audio Interview
University of Missouri
Palo Duro High School
1st Round – 32nd Overall
The Tigers' unit allowed only 124.86 yards per game rushing in 2008, ranking second in the Big Twelve Conference and 12th in the nation in tackles for loss, registering an average of 7.43 stops behind the line of scrimmage per game. Called by head coach Gary Pinkel, "the most tenacious player on the team," Hood more than lived up to that reputation. Despite constantly battling double team coverage, he collected 10 sacks, 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage and sixteen quarterback pressures the last two seasons as the team's starting weak-side defensive tackle. Hood was a highly-regarded athlete and much sought prospect that excelled on defense and also played tight end for Palo Duro High School. He ranked as the 35th-best weak-side defensive end in the nation, according to the experts at Rivals.com and was named District 3-4A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, when he registered 93 tackles and 13 sacks. That season, Hood also scored three defensive touchdowns on the year and recovered three fumbles. He earned AII-District honors each of his last two years. He registered 76 tackles as a junior, including five sacks and also returned an interception for a touchdown. In addition to football, he threw the shot and discus for his school's track team. Hood chose to attend Missouri in 2005, as he turned down scholarship offers from Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian, Texas-EI Paso and Baylor, among others. The coaches were originally going to red-shirt him, but in August camp, he earned a spot with the second unit at weak-side defensive tackle, going on to play in 12 games. He was in on 23 tackles (13 solos), 1.5 sacks and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. The sophomore seized a starting opportunity in 2006. He started off the season terrorizing opposing quarterbacks, but in the third game vs. New Mexico, he suffered a foot fracture that required surgery to insert a screw. The staff projected that he would be forced to miss the rest of the season, but each week, Hood predicted he would be back the following game. After missing just three games, Hood returned to the gridiron, despite playing with pain the rest of the season. With his reputation as a "tough hombre" established, he went out and delivered 36 tackles (24 solos) that included four sacks, four pressures and two forced fumbles while playing weak-side tackle and nose guard. That was just the start of great things to come. In 2007, Hood was named All-Big Twelve Conference honorable mention. The weak-side tackle started all 14 games, coming up with 49 tackles (30 solos). Despite constant double coverage, he finished third on the squad with five sacks and had a career-high eight stops for losses. He caused three fumbles, recovered another and broke up five passes. After producing six tackles and 1.5 sacks vs. Arkansas in the Cotton bowl, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel called that Hood's best game in a Tigers' uniform. Hood continued to be relentless in his pursuit of opposing quarterbacks in 2008, as five of his 12 pressures caused interceptions. The team captain and All-Big Twelve first-team choice was in on 62 tackles (31 solos) that included seven stops behind the line of scrimmage and five sacks. He also recovered two fumbles and blocked one kick.
Hood started the last 31 (35 total) of the 50 games he played in at Missouri...Finished his career with 170 tackles (98solos), 15.5 sacks for minus 76 yards, 22.5 stops for losses totaling 111 yards and 22 quarterback pressures...His 15.5 sacks tied C.J. Mosley (2002-04) for seventh on the school's all-time record list…Also caused five fumbles and had three fumble recoveries...Deflected eight passes and blocked one kick.
Consensus All-Big Twelve Conference first-team selection...Added Academic All-Big Twelve second-team accolades...Team captain and named the Tigers' Defensive Lineman of the Year... Started all fourteen games at weakside defensive tackle, recording a career-high 62 tackles (31 solos)... Ranked second on the team with five sacks for minus 37 yards and had seven stops for losses of 42 yards...Credited with 12 quarterback pressures, as he recovered two fumbles, deflected a pair of passes and blocked one kick...Helped the team rank second in the league and 1st in the nation with an average of 7.43 tackles for loss per game...Part of a front wall that gave up just 124.86 yards per game rushing...Held the opposition to 97 yards on 40 running plays he was involved in (2.43 ypc), as he made eight third-down stops vs. the run and allowed just seven first downs with no touchdowns and stopped opposing ball carriers for no gain on ten of those rushing attempts...Ten of his OB pressures came on third-down snaps and another on fourth down...Registered 10 tackles inside the red zone, including six on goal line plays.
Won honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from both league media and coaches for his play, which included career-best numbers in every major category...Ended the year with 49 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 4 QB hurries and 3 forced fumbles...Ended the year strongly with a 6-tackle, 1.5 sack game in MU's win over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl that Coach Gary Pinkel labeled as his best game in a Tiger uniform...Had a huge opener against Illinois, recording five tackles in all, including 1.5 QB sacks...Also added two forced fumbles and one QB pressure against the Illini...Had two tackles (one solo and one assist) and had a QB hurry against Ole Miss...Made seven tackles, including one TFL against Western Michigan...Picked up his first-career fumble recovery in the second quarter against WMU...Had a great game against Nebraska, batting down two passes at the line of scrimmage, while recording three total tackles...Made seven tackles against Iowa State and recorded a sack...Made two stops against Texas A&M and had another pair of tackles against Kansas State...Recorded three stops against Kansas and also had a pass break up, his fifth of the year...Made three stops, including one TFL, against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.
Had his true sophomore season derailed somewhat by a broken foot in the third game of the season, but he returned to play in the final seven games, playing at not quite 100 percent health...Opened his sophomore season on a tear, recording 13 tackles, 3 sacks and 4 TFLs in the season's first three games, before breaking a foot in game three at New Mexico...Had surgery on Sept. 18th to insert a screw, and returned to action against Texas A&M on Oct. 14, missing just three games, amazingly enough...Saw action for 20 snaps at A&M and had one tackle in his return...Had a career-high 36 total tackles, and ended the regular season with a two-tackle outing against Kansas that included one QB sack that forced a fumble which was recovered by Mizzou inside the KU 20-yardline in the 4th quarter...The Tiger offense converted with a TD to effectively put the game away...Had three stops, and one pass broken up, in the Sun Bowl against Oregon State...Was named the winner of the team's Rigman Outstanding Underclassman Leadership Award...Had four stops vs. K-State...Returned to the starting lineup against Oklahoma, recording five total tackles...Had five stops against Nebraska and made three stops in Iowa State game...Recorded 1.5 sacks in each game against Murray State and Ole Miss, and had a career-best six total tackles vs. the Rebels...Was leading the team through three games with his three sacks before his injury, and still ranked 4th on the club...Saw action in 10 games overall, including seven starts.
True freshman who came in and impressed from day one, and earned playing time despite his youth and inexperience...Saw action in all 12 games, registering 23 total tackles, including 2.5 TFLs (10 yards) and 1.5 QB sacks (9 yards)...Was credited with two tackles in Mizzou's Independence Bowl win over South Carolina, with both of them coming in the 4th quarter...The latter of the two was a huge stop on a 3rd-and-8 play from the MU 15-yardline that went for only two yards and forced USC to try a field goal that kept the score tied at 31 apiece...Had at least two tackles each in eight straight games, from game #3 against Troy, through game 10 against Baylor, in which he recorded a season-best five tackles, and 1.5 QB sacks...Had three tackles at Colorado, and added one QB hurry...Notched two tackles against Nebraska, including his first collegiate tackle for loss.
Highly-regarded athlete who excelled on defense and also played tight end for Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas...Ranked as the No. 35 weakside defensive end in the nation, according to the experts at Rivals.com...Was named district 3-4A defensive player of the year as a senior, when he registered 93 tackles and 13 QB sacks...Also scored three defensive TDs on the year and recovered three fumbles...Earned all-district honors each of his last two years…Had 76 stops as a junior, including five QB sacks and also returned one interception for a TD…Threw the shot and discus for his school's track team...High school coach - Steve Parr.
Biology major...Son of Mary Payne and Charles Hood...Nicknamed "Ziggy," a name given to him by his grandmother as a child...Born 2/16/87...Resides in Amarillo, Texas.