Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies tight end Bucky Hodges (7) catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies have had a few freshmen break out this season on the offensive side of the ball with true freshmen Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips doing a lot of damage at wide receiver. The Hokies also have one of the deepest and strongest groups of tight ends in the country with one player in particular standing out with a breakout season.
Bucky Hodges made the move from quarterback to tight end last fall and it has paid off for the Hokies with Hodges having a great season. So far, the redshirt freshman tight end has 35 receptions for 417 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, and an average of 11.9 yards per reception.
Hodges has been getting better and better as the season has gone along but is he a future first round NFL Draft pick?
One of the biggest things with Hodges is his great size for a tight end at 6-6 and 244 pounds. However, Hodges has proven to be more than just a player with great size as he is one of the most athletic tight ends in college football. Hodges also has above-average speed and has the ability to stretch the field over the middle and make big plays.
Bucky Hodges also is similar to some tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Dallas Clark in that Hodges has the ability to line up in the slot or all the way outside like a pure wide receiver. Hodges has even been used on some screen plays which just shows how Hodges has become a reliable pass catcher to be put on the outside on a somewhat regular basis.
Hodges is not a good blocker right now but he has the strength to become one while that strength also allows him to get some tough yards on short passes and even break a couple of tackles. Hodges is still developing as a route runner but is a decent route runner currently and should only get better over the next couple of years.
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The biggest thing with Hodges is his potential as the sky is the limit for the former quarterback. This might seem crazy on some levels but Hodges has the potential to be as good as Jimmy Graham due to his potent combination of size, speed, athleticism, and strength along with his improving pass catching skills. Hodges also projects to be a solid blocker in the long run which is good enough.
Bucky Hodges has huge potential and could end up being a first round pick whenever he goes to the NFL. Hopefully, Hodges will stick around beyond 2015 even if his draft stock continues to take off. Hodges has a future in the NFL and he could end up being a first round pick.