its definitely a dream come true, said hodge, whos the nephew of green bay packers wide receiver randall cobb, a former kentucky standout who played at alcoa (tenn.) high school. i mean, very excited. Its my first big offer. i still cant believe it, man. Im just speechless. I really cant believe it i mean, sec. I cant believe it.
they really wanted me to come to camp and stuff like that, so i came to camp, hodge said. the offer did kind of surprise me, but they did show a lot of interest. I think what stood out was my speed my size and my speed, for me to be so big, he said. i think that kind of stood out to them, and them seeing me in person for the first time and my size and my quickness, for me to be that big i think that kind of stood out.
me and coach weinke joke about this, but my favorite team is actually florida state, hodge said, referring to tennessee running backs coach chris weinke, a former heisman trophy-winning quarterback at florida state. hell joke around with me. Ive always rooted for tennessee. Whenever they play, ill root for them to win.
he said he expects to give tennessee strong consideration now that he has an offer from the vols, adding that staying home would be nice because he has always been more of a homebody. Itll be tough to beat them, hodge said. im going to treat them like any other school, even though theyre right down the road. I mean, theyve got some nice facilities down there. I like the campus. Its nice down there, so itll be tough.
I sure hope so. These Blount County kids (both Maryville and Alcoa) tend to not go our way in the long run for one reason or another. I can't think of the last Maryville player to have a good football career at Tennessee (I'm not counting Aaron Douglas who would have finished his career at Alabama).
"I felt like I was having a good day," Hodge said of his performance on Saturday. "It was a confusing moment. We tested at first and then we did some position drills. Coach (Chris) Weinke told me he wanted to talk to me and it became apparent they may pull the trigger. Then I spoke to coach Pruitt and that's when it went down. I was extremely happy," Hodge said. "It has set in the last couple of days, but it is still kind of a dream."
The Tennessee staff was by Maryville twice this spring. Once it was Tyson Helton and the other time it was running backs coach Chris Weinke dropping by to check on Hodge and his teammate A.J. Davis. The first year Vol tailbacks coach has stayed in touch with Hodge and that relationship is blossoming.
"He's a great guy," Hodge said. "He gave me some great advice about ball security and stuff like that. Stuff I can take back to high school and improve my game. "I was a fan of Florida State growing up and he and I joke about that. But with that said, whenever I saw Tennessee playing, I cheered for them."
And with one big domino to fall, Hodge is hoping to see more offers coming his way in the coming days and weeks. All the while staying grounded and focused on becoming the best player he can be. "It's exciting and I'm hoping they start to roll in now," Hodge said. "I just have to stay working hard and never be satisfied because I have a lot of stuff to improve on. That's how I will approach it and my focus turns into becoming a leader on my team and helping us get back to state."