Darius Hodge has known for a while that he will have a chance to fulfill his goal of playing college football. If everything checks out academically, the Wake Forest linebacker will be welcomed by NC State's football team in a matter of months.
Hodge (6-2, 246) attained another goal when he was selected to participate in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in December. He will represent North Carolina in America's oldest all-star game for high school football players.
The game is something Hodge has wanted to play in for a very long time and his selection is a recognition of what he has accomplished as a player so far. While it was Hodge's hard work that earned him the spot in the game he struck a humble and grateful tone when he talked about the selection this week.
"It was a blessing. When coach first told me I had got selected I was very excited. I had been wanting to do this for a long time."
For Hodge the game will be even more meaningful because one of his future teammates will be playing alongside him in the game. Chris Ingram is also committed to NC State, and he was picked to represent his state in the game too.
"You plan on doing it together and we finally got picked. Me and the team celebrated at practice when we found out. We had a good time."
Wake Forest is a perfect 8-0 after a huge win over Heritage on Friday.
"We've played pretty good. Coach puts us in a position to make big plays and that's what our whole team is doing."
Hodge has totaled 48 tackles (22 solo) and a stellar 16 tackles for loss as part of a Wake Forest defense that has not allowed more than 13 points in any game. Wake Forest's five opponents have 26 combined points on the season and Hodge's defense has pitched two shutouts.
NC State wants Hodge to play inside linebacker and the staff tells him not to worry too much about his weight one way or the other. The only thing they have said he should do is focus on maintaining his current weight as best he can. He's already on the bigger side so far as inside linebackers go but the coaches have told him they can deal with exercise, nutrition and a comprehensive training regimen when he gets to school.
Hodge is currently rated a three-star recruit and the No. 73 outside linebacker prospect in the country by Scout.com. Recruiting Analyst Michael Clark is very high on the Wolfpack pledge.
"Hodge has made a smooth transition to linebacker during his senior season," said Clark. "He is big, strong and very physical. Hodge is a good athlete who can play sideline to sideline. He also has good instincts and does a great job of putting himself in position to makes plays."