Utah Utes football: Tevita Stevens proves to be leader of the pack

By Connor Malmberg

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 12:01 p.m. MDT

“After serving my mission, I really wanted to be closer to a place that shares more of my religious views, so it came down to Utah and BYU,” Stevens said. “I thought about those two schools for a while and decided that Utah was a better fit for me. The coaches here are great and gave me a chance to come in and play right away.”

Following a redshirt season in 2008, Stevens competed for the starting guard position in 2009. Halfway through the season, Stevens claimed the full-time starting job and played next to four future NFL players in Zane Beadles, Zane Taylor, Caleb Schlauderaff and Tony Bergstrom.

“All four of those players carried similar traits that I have tried to apply to my own game,” Stevens said. “They would pay attention to details and the small things. Playing next to them, I felt the high demands from them and it elevated me to be a better player. Now I hope that I can pass on some of those traits to the younger guys this year.”

Entering his junior season, Stevens was not only tasked with helping Utah transition smoothly to the Pac-12 Conference, but the coaches also moved him from guard to center.

“Surprisingly, the transition was not too bad,” he said. “I think it was good that I started at guard for a few years and got the hang of things. Being the center, you have to know more and make adjustments to the blocking assignments. As a freshman, that would have been really difficult; but after learning from the great example of Zane Taylor for two years, it made the transition easier.”

In his final season, Stevens is committed to helping the Utes make it to the Pac-12 Conference Championship game.

“Last year we fell a bit short of our goal,” Stevens said. “This year my plan is to work hard and help the team achieve its goal of a Pac-12 Conference championship.”

While Stevens has talents on the football field, he also has talents that go beyond there. Stevens is a three-time academic all-conference honoree who is on track to finish his degree in Spanish this fall.

“I am grateful that God has given me such a blessing to have college paid for with an athletic scholarship and to have such a supportive family,” Stevens said. “I love football and want to take it as far as I can, but I know that there are more important things in life than playing football. Once I am done playing I would like to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a Spanish teacher.”

Stevens’ own words paint the most accurate portrayal of him. He is a humble individual who personifies the true meaning of the word ‘student-athlete.’

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