Hodge: I'll Be Back

Thursday, Iowa linebacker Abdul Hodge continued squelching talk that he would be foregoing his senior season for the NFL. The Florida native also talked about his younger brother Elijah making his official recruiting visit to Iowa City this weekend, his chance to go home for another bowl game, the Hawks' matchup with LSU and much more in this HN.com premium Quotes Package.

Roth said that (NFL) agents are calling him. Do you get phone calls from agents, too?

Yeah. Somehow my number got out there. A lot of them try to call, but I don't answer any number that I don't know.

What would you tell them if they did get through to you?

Most of them would want to know if I'm coming back for my senior year. I could just end the conversation by saying that I am coming back for my senior year. And that would be that.


This weekend is big on another front with your brother coming in. What's that going to be like?

I talked to him last night. He's excited for the visit. And I haven't seen him for awhile. So, it's going to be a great experience for him to come on a visit with his older brother. We'll just go from there once he gets here.

He says he's down to Ohio State and Iowa. You can't see him going to Ohio State, can you?

(Laughs). No. I can't see him being in a Buckeye uniform. But at the same time, he's his own person. What might move me might not move him. We're two different people. He's going to make his own decision when it comes down to it.

If he comes to you and asks what he should do, what are you going to tell him?

I'll tell him he's on his own. I made my decision by myself. I have one more year here. So whatever school he chooses to go to, he has to make sure, like I told him, you've got to make sure you're ready to stay there for four or five years and that you're happy with it. Players are transferring all over. You need to find your home and make sure you're comfortable there and make sure you can see yourself there for four or five years.


How did you feel when you found out it was going to be Florida again?

I was very excited. It's the third straight year of going back to my home (state). It's a good opportunity for me and my teammates to play in another good bowl.

I know the Orange Bowl is a couple of years back, but does that still haunt you that you don't want a repeat of that thing?

Anytime you have a loss like that, you remember it for a long time. At the same time, we remember how we felt when we walked off of the field last year. We're going to prepare just like we did last year.

LSU is a pretty good opponent.

Yeah. They're the defending national champs. They're coming back with a lot of good athletes on both sides of the ball. We're going to have so show up with our A game.

How much film of them have you watched?

Coach Ferentz doesn't want us in there studying film right now. At the same time, I've snuck in the room and watched a little bit of when they played Florida. It's a good team; good ball players.

How did you feel when you found out it was LSU?

Great. In a bowl, you want to play against a great team. We know it's going to be a good game.

What do you think about their program?

They're somewhat like our program. For the last three years, we've put ourselves above a lot of other teams as far as going out and competing every day and giving great effort. That's what you think when you talk about LSU.

There's such a long layoff between bowl games. How do you stay sharp?

One good thing is it gives athletes' bodies a chance to recover and get back into shape. Depending on how the schedule is set up heading into the bowl, it can affect how you play. We tweaked our schedule a little bit after we played in the Orange Bowl. We weren't allowed to go home for Christmas. We stayed together as a team.

As a defensive player, what do you think of how Drew Tate plays?

It's great having him on our side. To play against him, a quarterback that's elusive and has an arm, he takes control of the offense. It's difficult to prepare for his adjustments.

How far do you live from Orlando?

Three hours South.

So, they'll be a lot of players from Florida with family and friends there again.

Yeah. Right now we're trying to beat the freshmen in the head for their tickets. It's hard because a lot of the families want to go to the game. It's going to be a good atmosphere. The people that can't travel will see it on TV.

How many tickets do you get?

We each get six.

Is that enough for you?

No. I'm up to 12.

What do you need?

About two more. I don't have a real big family.

Who's having the most trouble?

(Damian) Sims. He's frustrated.

Who needs the most?

Probably George (Lewis). He has a really big family back home.

When you were flying back from Arizona State, what were your thoughts?

(Laughs) There was a lot of stuff going through my head. We got beat real bad. The trip was long. But it gave us time to think about what we had done in the past to be successful and not to take anything for granted.

Didi you have any conversations that you remember on that flight? Who did you sit next to?

I sat next to Chad. But everyone was quiet. Everyone was disappointed. There really wasn't much to be said.

Do you know anyone on LSU?

I know Travis Daniels, the starting cornerback. I played in an all-star game with him back in high school.

Are they similar to Florida?

Yeah. They have a great quarterback. They have great receivers and DBs and a lot of athletes on both sides of the ball.

How do you guys feel being the underdogs again?

That's what we like. A lot of the games that we went into we're the underdog. That gives us a chip on our shoulder to play with.

So you don't look at it as maybe not getting the respect you deserve?

Nah. Somebody has to be the underdog in every game.

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