Jason Shivers is taking today off by playing in his third Arizona State-Arizona football game.

No school. No studying. No landscaping jobs.

Shivers has more than a full plate of activities to keep him busy.

And that doesn't include maintaining a relationship with his girlfriend, Takesha Colter, a volleyball and basketball player at South Mountain Community College.

"It's hard," the ASU safety said of his work load. "A lot of it is just me being used to doing for so long."

Shivers and his retired father, Ed, run a landscaping business with 23 to 25 associate employees. Shivers is majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on business and landscape architecture.

They say football is a job. But Shivers really has one and spends much of his time on it.

To network and raise money in south Phoenix, Shivers said he's planning a social event Saturday or next Saturday at Esteban Park in Phoenix.

"We want people to come out, play a little hoop, chit chat, barbecue, see friends," said Shivers, a Phoenix South Mountain High graduate. "It'll be the community kicking back and having fun."

Shivers hopes his neighbors will be asking him about an ASU victory.

That would punctuate a disappointing season for ASU, but a productive year for Shivers. He's the first Sun Devil to lead the team in tackles three successive years since tackle statistics were first kept in 1970.

He has 93 total stops, which include 62 first hits. He's second in the Pac-10 in tackles.

Shivers' goal this season was to improve his pass coverage. He believes he has.

"I feel I've played better than the past two years," said Shivers, who has three interceptions. "That was something I wanted to do. Balls have slowed down coming into my area. "

With the suspension of Daryl Lightfoot and injuries to Terry Richardson, Josh Golden and Hakim Hill, Shivers has been pressed into returning kicks.

He relishes the role and hopes he gets the opportunity to return a kick against the Wildcats (2-9).

"I was a little rusty, but it didn't take much to get it back," said Shivers, who has returned three punts and four kickoffs this season. "Being a returner brings a liveliness back for my game. I love being able to have the ball in my hands again."

When school is over, Shivers can put his full attention to a new business proposal he's developing and whether he'll return for his senior season.

Coach Dirk Koetter will help Shivers file the necessary paperwork to ascertain his draft status from the NFL.

Whatever Shivers decides, it won't have an impact on the other major issue before him, expanding and reinventing his landscaping business. But today, he's all about mowing over the Wildcats.

"I want to focus on this last game," he said. "We have the seniors going out and a lot of them I'm very close to. It'll be an emotional game."

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