Following Hodge’s junior season, Charlton Warren, who recruits Wake County for the Tar Heels, offered the 6-foot-1, 255-pounder from Wake Forest (N.C.) High.
“It was a blessing,” Hodge said. “It was a blessing for me and my family. It gives me a chance to improve my athletic ability and further my education.”
On the field, everything checks out for Hodge. In 2015, he led Wake Forest in blocked punts, and finished second – behind five-star Dexter Lawrence – in solo tackles (33), total tackles (65), sacks (8.0), and tackles for a loss (9.0).
Off the field, however, one major obstacle stands between Hodge and the ability to commit to his UNC offer.
“I’m borderline with grades,” Hodge said. “But, [Warren] said if I finish school out strong I’ll definitely have a big chance of going there.”
Four other schools have offered Hodge: Appalachian State, NC State, Pittsburgh, and Virginia.
“I don’t really have a favorite,” Hodge said. “I’m just going with it day by day.”
Hodge will name favorites midway through his senior season. He’ll then make a decision shortly after the season.
Within the past eight months, Hodge has made a pair of visits to UNC.
“I get to know the coaches more and more every time I go up there,” Hodge said.
Hodge first attended UNC’s 48-14 rout of Illinois. From his seat in Kenan Stadium, he evaluated the Tar Heels’ defense, which was Gene Chizik’s third game as defensive coordinator.
“They played hard and fast,” Hodge said. “And I liked the fans.”
After the season, Hodge was back in Chapel Hill for a basketball game. Before tipoff, he received an in-depth look of UNC.
“I learned that they put school first,” Hodge said. “We met the tutors. And then we went into the academic facility and it was really nice.”
Hodge plans to return to UNC for camp this summer. Clemson, Duke, and NC State are other likely camp stops.