Hodge chooses Wisconsin

Badgers receive holiday gift: commitment No. 23

For the second time this month, a four-star linebacker has given a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin.

Elijah Hodge, the younger brother of University of Iowa star Abdul Hodge, called Wisconsin defensive coordinator Bret Bielema Monday evening and made his commitment, becoming the Badgers' 23rd commit for the class of 2005 and the fourth linebacker.

The four-star prospect from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is considered the No. 18 linebacker in the country, according to Scout.com. Hodge, 6-foot, 200 pounds with a 4.7 40-yard dash, will play will linebacker at Wisconsin.

Hodge chose the Badgers after taking official visits to Wisconsin (Dec. 17) and his other two favorites, Iowa (Dec. 10) and Ohio State (Nov. 20).

"I just felt that it was the best place for me, being that I've been to Ohio State and Iowa and I've seen what everyone has to offer," Hodge said. "I just feel that Wisconsin has more to offer for me."

Elijah Hodge's older brother, Iowa junior Abdul Hodge, is widely considered one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten. Elijah, however, said his brother took a hands off approach to his recruitment.

"He just was like make sure that I'm making the best decision for me," Elijah Hodge said. "He's really not playing a part in my decision."

Elijah Hodge does have a fourth official visit scheduled—to Duke Jan. 14—but said he was not sure if he would still take that trip.

Bielema recruited Hodge for the Badgers and will coach the prized linebacker when he arrives in Madison. Elijah Hodge is excited to play the will position at Wisconsin, which he said is similar to the spot he played in high school.

"I think that's the position that I'm projected to play because he's pretty much covered up and gets to run free," Elijah Hodge said. "That's pretty much my ball, running free."

Hodge said his official visit to Wisconsin swayed his decision.

"I liked it very much," he said. "Just something special. It was a special feeling. I just felt at home. A lot of great people around."

Asked if he wanted to decide before Christmas, Hodge said it was a consideration.

"Now I can relax. I can put it to the back of my mind," he said.

At the beginning of December the Badgers received a verbal commitment from in-state star Travis Beckum, a candidate for national player of the year honors. He could end up playing linebacker, safety, H-back or receiver at Wisconsin.

The Badgers also have commitments from a pair of three-star linebackers: Milwaukee Vincent's DeAndre Levy and North Chicago, Ill., product O'Brien Schofield.

Elijah Hodge Scouting Video

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