In Hodges, Texas gets an early enrollee who should be an instant competitor for a starting OT position who just helped win the NJCAA national title for East Mississippi Community College.
The joke among coaches is it takes a year to knock the JUCO out of a player, but something tells me Joe Wickline will be able to accelerate that timeline.
Watching Hodges' film, he can play too high, at times. But he has good feet and a good punch and gets up out of his stance well in pass-blocking with a decent drop-step and moves well enough and has long enough arms to chase down speed rushers and get in the way or push them off their path. At 6-5, 295, Hodges has good size and can add a little more.
Pat Moorer will improve his conditioning. But Hodges is an upgrade.THE COMPETITION:
When you add Hodges to the competition with redshirt senior OT Desmond Harrison, JUCO OL Tristan Nickelson, Marcus Hutchins, Darius James, Camrhon Hughes and the OT sleeper in the freshman class who I love - Ronnie Major - suddenly you've got a good battle at the OT positions.THE REST OF THE LINE:
Coaches project Patrick Vahe at center, but if that's too much for a true freshman to handle (Texas opens at Notre Dame), I think you'll see Vahe come in and battle Sed Flowers and Kent Perkins for a starting job at guard. Vahe's athleticism, nastiness and warrior mentality will put him in the mix for playing time right away.MY PROJECTED TWO-DEEP RIGHT NOW:
LT - Brandon Hodges, Desmond Harrison
LG - Patrick Vahe, Sed Flowers
C - Marcus Hutchins/Taylor Doyle, Patrick Vahe
RG - Kent Perkins, Darius James
RT - Tristan Nickelson, Jake Raulerson/Ronnie MajorBOTTOM LINE:
Projecting Hutchins to center is something I can see Wickline doing, but I haven't heard that from any of the coaches. I'm sure the coaches will try to redshirt as many of the freshmen in the 2015 OL class as possible. But I can see Vahe playing as a freshman.
I had an NFL scout whose son played witth Major at Huntsville tell me that Major has the makings of a big-time player. Watch his film, and he's a little raw, but once he locks his hands on you, you're finished. I know there's been talk about redshirting Nickelson, but something tells me he'll end up playing, and that could allow UT to redshirt Major.
Obviously there is a lot of excitement about OG Toby Weathersby and OT Connor Williams as well. But those are likely redshirt candidates. If Texas could redshirt Weathersby, Williams, Major and Garrett Thomas, that would be huge. It would mean Wickline got Big 12-level play from Hodges and either Nickelson, Desmond Harrison or Camrhon Hughes and my projected freshman starter Patrick Vahe.
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