Wake Forest (NC) linebacker Darius Hodge knew the time was right to make his college decision. On Tuesday night he informed the NC State coaching staff that he wanted to be a member of the Wolfpack.
"They've been home since day one," said Hodge. They recruited me since my sophomore year, and I get along with the coaching staff really well.
"Being close to home was a minor factor, it's not far from my house, but they made me feel like that is the place for me. That was the biggest factor."
Hodge made the decision a couple of days after camping at NC State. What was that experience like?
"It was great," he said. "Coach Huxtable is a funny guy, and he loves the game. He's hungry to teach us... he knows the techniques. He's really aggressive with how he coaches and that stood out to me.
"Plus, they had a lot of the players out at camp... I went to some of the games last year and afterwards I talked to some of the players. They are all nice and encourage you to come... I mean they want you there, but want whatever is best for you. They treat you like family."
Tailbacks coach Des Kitchings was the Wolfpack's lead recruiter for Hodge, and it sounds like he did a great job of building a relationship with the talented linebacker.
"Our relationship is really good," Hodge said of Kitchings. "We're really close, and I try to check in with him on a daily basis. He keeps it real with me. He's like a father figure and really stresses my academics... it's not just about football with him."
Hodge is one of the top athletes in the state. At State's camp he checked in at 6-foot-2 and 249 pounds and posted a 4.65 40-yard dash. He also had a 4.3 shuttle with a 35-inch vertical. He is being recruited to play linebacker for the Wolfpack.
"I think I did really good," Hodge stated. "They told me I did good out there."
He picked NC State over offers from UNC, Virginia, and Pitt among others. How did the Wolfpack coaches react when Hodge informed them of his decision?
"They were really excited," he said. "They told me they can't wait until I come there."
Hodge is the Wolfpack's seventh commitment in the 2017 class and the sixth in-state addition. Playing middle linebacker for Wake Forest (NC) High School, Hodge totaled 65 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, and eight sacks as a junior. He is one of four Wake Forest players with an offer from NC State... the others include: 2017 defensive lineman Xach Gill, 2018 tailback Devon Lawrence, and 2018 safety Javon Terry.
Gill and Hodge are close friends.
"Xach... we've always talked about playing at same college and signing on same day," said Hodge. "I would love for him to go with me to State, but it's whatever works best for him."
Hodge also attended camp over the weekend with Terry, who earned his offer at camp.
"Javon is aggressive, a great athlete," said Hodge. "He played linebacker for us last year, and he's now at safety. He can play.
"I think this year we're going to do really well. We have a bunch of players on our team that's playmakers."
Hodge is being recruited to play middle linebacker in the Wolfpack's 4-2-5 scheme. With his recruitment behind him he is now focused on preparing for college.
"I don't have anymore camps," he said. "I'm just focusing on my senior year and keeping my grades up so I can try and get there early."