The cornerstone in Hodgins' verbal pledge, his dad says, was WSU area recruiter Jim Mastro.
“He’s probably the best in the business,” said the elder Hodgins. “He’s a great guy and an unbelievable coach. He actually coached me at San Jose State (1995). He kind of takes a different approach – it’s not all about selling you. He’s very straight forward. He told us where we were at in terms of their priorities and they stayed consistent.”
That wasn’t always the case with others schools. Some would tell Isaiah he was the No. 1 receiver on their board, but then they wouldn’t hear anything for 3-4 weeks. That said to James that the names on their recruiting board were in continual flux.
“With Jim, he follows through with what he says he’s going to do,” said Hodgins. “We hit it off on a talent evaluation level, and how he saw Isiah fitting in with Washington State. That really helped.”
WSU RECRUITING FANS have seen over the years how prospects’ heads can get turned by other offers. That didn’t happen here when the Michigans, Nebraskas and Oregons came calling.
“It’s a lot different today than when I was going through, with social media,” said the elder Hodgins. “Isaiah, not that he didn’t like the limelight, but he saw it for what it is. What we kept telling him and what he really understood was that the whole point of this is to find the best school socially, athletically, academically. It’s not about collecting offers and getting stars, the things kids get caught up in today.”
IN TOURING DIFFERENT SCHOOLS over the past couple years, Washington State’s practices stood out, Hodgins said. And they focused in on Gabe Marks and Luke Falk in particular. While Isaiah isn’t going to come in as a freshman next year and replace Marks, it’s not difficult to imagine Isaiah taking a similar developmental path because of how WSU’s practices are run.
“There was no place where I saw the talent that I saw at Washington State in those two, in Luke Falk and Gabe Marks. And by far, they had the most competitive practices we went to, the most competitive environment… You don’t really know how a kid will be until he gets there but they drew a lot of comparisons to Gabe Marks. We’re excited about the prospects of Isaiah playing with Luke Falk, hopefully he sticks around and has a senior year there,” said Hodgins, referencing the prospects of Falk potentially going pro a year early.
It also didn’t hurt that Washington State has been mentioned often in the media this offseason as a popular candidate to compete for the Pac-12 North title in 2016.
“In looking at Washington State, we felt this is going to be a team that wins the Pac-12 or competes for the Pac-12 this year. And we thought that would be a great thing for Isaiah to come into next year… It’s a great fit overall and for both sides,” said James.
WASHINGTON STATE’s campus also played a role. So did athletic director Bill Moos.
“For being a big school it has a down home feel, very family oriented -- right off the bat we met the athletic director. At every other school, I think we met one athletic director and it was in passing in the hallway. At Washington State, we sat with the AD for an hour in his office, and he shared his vision.”
THE COUGS MIGHT not be done when it comes to the Hodgins’. Isaac Hodgins (6-0, 265) is a sophomore DL/OL at Berean Christian in the 2018 class.
“I said to Washington State, you don’t have to offer him a scholarship, just give him an honest evaluation and if it’s a fit, great. And if not, great. They were pretty cool about that and said they’d do it, and I know they will. Hopefully, It works out. I’d love to have them both as Cougars,” said Hodgins.