As high school seniors embark on their college experience, some choose to move away, while others have the perfect option right in their backyards. For Tucson-natives Jake Fischer and Jared Tevis, the decision to stay in their home city to attend the University of Arizona came easily.
“It’s amazing to have the support of your family and friends so close,” Tevis said. “There’s nothing really quite like it.”
Fischer’s decision to stay in Tucson followed Arizona’s football successes.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go to a Division I school my freshman year in high school,” Fischer said. “After freshman year, it came down to a camp with the coaches. I was interested in the University of Arizona because they were turning the program around and they were the first school to talk to me. That was a pretty special experience and it’s just a great school right in your backyard.”
In addition to a rising program, Tevis and Fischer also had a love for the city of Tucson.
“You get a sense of extra pride because growing up with these people and with the great support system you kind of want to represent for them,” Fischer said. “The more local guys you have on the team, you already have some sense of awareness of the other person, whether you played against him or know of him. It creates a special bond.”
The ability to play in front of a community you can call your own provides the local football players with an opportunity to enter the Arizona program with a bond - a bond that both players call special.
“Being able to come in with those other guys and being able to play alongside or watch them play from the sideline, that’s just incredible,” Fischer said. “Tucson doesn’t have a ton of guys come out, but when we do, the guys are pretty special obviously. Having that sense of being home and representing for your city gives us a little bit more incentive to work harder.”
Tevis agrees that the ability to have local players attend Arizona allows the city to take pride in local talent.
“Tucson is underestimated and I think that’s the biggest thing,” Tevis explained. “We have a lot of great kids out here and a lot of good people. I think that brings us together because a lot of people don’t see that.”
The importance of keeping local talent goes further than just the bond that the players are able to share.
“It’s huge because a lot of people get overlooked in Tucson and Arizona in general,” Tevis said. “When people do get recruited out of Tucson, they get recruited by a lot of schools, so a lot of kids like to leave. I think it’s big for our team and this program to keep our talent in state to take advantage of the talent that we do have here. “
With both players advocating for local players to think about Arizona, the pressure they have on their backs to represent Tucson and the university comes from their own willingness to succeed.
“I wouldn’t say there’s more pressure,” Fischer said. “For the most part, I put more pressure on myself. We want to be as good as we can be. We want to reach our potential. We have been hungry since we’ve been here. I wouldn’t say we feel pressured from the outside, more or less we put more pressure on ourselves.”
With kickoff in Arizona Stadium just hours away, Tevis will open his junior season against NAU. Meanwhile, Fischer is preparing for the final season opener of his collegiate career.
“I’m just ready to get back out on the field,” Tevis said. “It’s been way too long. I’m excited to see our defense come together. I think we’re going to have a great year. I’m just excited to get the ball rolling.”
As the season marks its beginning, Fischer is ready to be back on the field in front of a city he calls his family.
“Going through camp is tough but we’re getting ready to go out and put a finished product on the field,” Fischer said. “The product is never finished, but you want to get better from week to week. If we could keep getting better and put a product on the field that we’re proud, then it will remind us why we worked so hard.”