2009 Class Making a Name

Only a few weeks into the 2008 high school football season, the 14 committed Rice Owl recruits for the Class of 2009 are performing at a very high level. Small school lineman Jon Hodde, playing at Class A Burton, is one of many anxious to get to the Rice Campus...

Jon Hodde called me last night to give me his stats from last Friday and we talked for about 20 minutes. He told me he gets more anxious to get to Rice all the time. He's been paying attention to the other recruits in his class and is impressed by the numbers they are putting up and he told me he's real excited to be part of the talented 2009 group.

He's one of three great Offensive Tackle prospects in the 2009 class that's ranked 53rd in the country by Scout.

Though the class has only 14 commitments due to a small graduating senior class, its ranking could feasibly be much higher, perhaps nearer to Top 40, if recent additions were factored in and if the Owls had room for more offers. Summer DE addition Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, gray shirt DE/HB Vance McDonald who will report in January, and Alabama QB transfer Nick Fanuzzi are all 3 Star players; but won't show up on this year's list. Regardless of ranking, the Owls are ecstatic to have the pipeline full for 2009.

One of those who jumped in early was Hodde, who committed right after an offer came his way in June. Though he plays in Class A, he's gotten a lot of recruiting attention because of his frame. Jon's current measurements are 6-7 285. "Rice measured me at 6-6 280 barefooted, at their camp. So I know I'm at least 6-6. My school measured me recently at 6-7 though." He told me he lifts 3 days a week in his school's S&C program. They don't "max" during the season (nobody does) but Jon feels his strength has improved quite a bit since August. "I'm about to increase all my lifts because I'm handling my bench, squat, and power clean weights pretty easily."

He told me he felt like he had his best game as a high school player Friday night when Burton beat Normangee 36-8. Here are his stats:

Offense: Graded out at 92.5% on his blocks, had 8 pancake blocks, allowed no sacks. (he hasn't allowed a sack all year playing LT)

Defense: Registered 7 tackles, had 2 sacks

An interesting note on Hodde that I think is relevant to his future at Rice is that he's playing Left Tackle this year because Burton has a right handed QB. Prior to this season they had left-handed QBs, so he played Right Tackle from his freshman year through last season. He said he feels comfortable playing either - good to know since Rice has a freshman lefty QB in Ryan Lewis, but also a right hander in Nick Fanuzzi.

Jon said he plans on attending this weekend's game against North Texas. "Coach Naivar called me tonight, but I was at a school function. I'm going to call him back about the game this weekend. He's fun to talk to because he's always so fired up about Rice football."

The Rice-North Texas game is scheduled for a 4:00 pm kickoff at Rice Stadium.

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