Inside stars Kyahva Tezino and Juwan Washington’s friendship

Senior+running+back+Juwan+Washington+and+senior+linebacker+Kyahva+Tezino+line+up+before+a+play+during+the+Aztecs%E2%80%99+6-0+win+over+Weber+State+on+Aug.+31.
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Inside stars Kyahva Tezino and Juwan Washington’s friendship

Senior running back Juwan Washington and senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino line up before a play during the Aztecs’ 6-0 win over Weber State on Aug. 31.

Senior running back Juwan Washington and senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino line up before a play during the Aztecs’ 6-0 win over Weber State on Aug. 31.

Kareem Jones

Senior running back Juwan Washington and senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino line up before a play during the Aztecs’ 6-0 win over Weber State on Aug. 31.

Kareem Jones

Kareem Jones

Senior running back Juwan Washington and senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino line up before a play during the Aztecs’ 6-0 win over Weber State on Aug. 31.

by Aaron Tolentino, Sports Editor

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Juwan Washington and Kyahva Tezino.

Both seniors and this year’s stars of the Aztec football team, these names are likely the first two that come to mind when thinking about the upcoming season.

It just happens that the two are also best friends off the field.

Four years ago as young freshmen, neither Washington nor Tezino saw the field and ultimately ended up using their redshirt year. Fast forward to the 2019 season, the two would never have imagined being the faces of the programs in their senior year.

“Nah, we definitely was not thinking about that,” Washington said about his journey at SDSU with Tezino. “We had totally different aspirations, thinking about different things. We was trying to have fun as young freshman.”

Tezino said he’s lucky to have grown close with Washington and made lasting memories with him on and off the field.

“Juwan has been my roommate for years,” Tezino said. “It’s not common for you and your best friend to be the face of the team, so it’s kind of crazy to have that. It’s like a blessing. Who would have ever knew us two would have been there?”

Washington is the guy teammates turn to when it’s time for a laugh, while Tezino is the one who gets the team serious and focused when it’s time to get ready.

But, as the old saying goes, “opposites attract.”

“I don’t know how it fits,” Tezino said. “I’m always serious when it comes to football. I’m always passionate about it.”

“When (Washington) needs to focus, I’m there to get him focused. I feel like that’s how it is with the team,” Tezino added. “He knows when all the guys need to just relax and just be cool and take it slow.”

Off the field, the two seem inseparable. They can be seen eating out together, grocery shopping and hitching rides with one another. In the offseason, you can see the two sitting among their group of friends in Viejas Arena for a basketball game.

For head coach Rocky Long, Washington and Tezino’s tight bond is something he can relate to. It doesn’t surprise him guys can turn out to be best friends after being on the same college football team.

Long said the closest friendships he’s ever made in his life emanated from the football field.

“I think that’s the way it works,” Long said of the two’s friendship. “Probably five or six of my best friends in the world are guys I’ve played when we were all freshmen together.”

Washington and Tezino have made their friendship public on various social media platforms, tweeting things like “Blood couldn’t make us any closer” and referring to each other as their “brothers.”

Now, switch to the fiery part of their friendship.

The interesting thing about the duo is how upfront they are with one another, often coming off as hostile or mean. Usually that hostility makes those two look like they hate each other, but the reality is just the opposite.

Washington said competing against Tezino is his form of motivation.

“It’s definitely a spark, especially with how competitive we are with each other,” Washington said. “If Kyahva sees me do something, he’s going to want to go out there and make a play. If I see him make a play, I’m going to want to make something happen.”

Washington and Tezino constantly bark at each other during practice, especially because the two play on different sides of the ball – Washington at tailback and Tezino at middle linebacker.

Those two positions are bound to hit each other during practice.

And when they do, it rarely comes without a little extra trash talk on the side.

Tezino said, almost jokingly, he’s taken down Washington over 100 times – even given the fact it is an ongoing tradition to protect the starting running back during fall camp.

“(Coaches) be protecting Juwan,” Tezino said.

“He probably won’t admit how many times I’ve tackled him – probably like over 100.”

Washington had a response to Tezino allegedly taking him down that many times. Tezino has tackled him cleanly, but it was nothing Washington considered as a solid hit.

“(Tezino) may have had a couple tackles on me, but it wasn’t a good lick,” Washington said with a smile. “I ain’t going to give him too much credit. I can’t say he put a good lick on me.”

Even Long can’t help but notice the two banter during practice, only to find out they are the best of friends.

“Well, they yak at each other all the time,” Long said. “If people don’t know that they’re buddies, everybody’s going, ‘Oh, those guys don’t like each other.’ Actually, it’s just the opposite.”

That’s the way Washington and Tezino are. On the field, nothing gets personal because each of them realize they are both out there competing and want to push each other to constantly get better.

That’s what best friends do.

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