Nov 28, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies tight end Bucky Hodges (7) celebrates with linebacker Ronny Vandyke (37) after recovering a blocked punt in the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Last October, Bucky Hodges started making the transition from quarterback to tight end. Many people compared Hodges’s athleticism to former QB Logan Thomas who was rumored to move to tight end when he first arrived in Blacksburg. In the spring, Hodges showed a lot of potential to be a big time tight end.
This past season, Hodges got better as the season went along and became college football’s best freshman tight end by the end of the season. Hodges has the potential to be an All-American in the very near future but definitely isn’t worthy of being an All-American this season.
However, Hodges did receive a national honor from USA Today.
Hodges was named to USA Today’s Freshman All-American team which includes redshirt freshmen unlike ESPN or 247 Sports. Hodges beat out Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne for this honor and Hodges definitely seems like a sleeper contender to win the Mackey Award and be an All-American next season.
Hodges became a very dangerous offensive playmaker for the Hokies this season with 42 receptions, 517 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and an average of 12.3 yards per reception plus a blocked punt recovery for a touchdown. Hodges had 22 of his 42 receptions in the final five games and took the starting job away from Ryan Malleck fairly early in the season after he proved he was the best tight end while Malleck was injured.
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Bucky Hodges is a nightmare for defensive coordinators to game plan against due to his very unique combination of speed, size, and athleticism. Hodges has the type of speed and size combination to outrun linebackers and maybe a few safeties while also being able to box out some safeties to get balls over the middle.
Hodges is also a very difficult to cover player in the red zone as he is very good at taking advantage of his size and athleticism to go up over smaller defensive backs to make some big catches in the corners of the endzone. Hodges also can use his size to box out defenders on slant routes out of the slots to get touchdowns as he did against Virginia to get the game-winning touchdown.
Hodges’s speed also allows the Hokies to move him all the way out wide similar to Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. Hodges can even beat some slower corenrbacks over the top and could’ve had a few more touchdowns if it wasn’t for some overthrown passes from Michael Brewer.
The future for Bucky Hodges looks very bright as he should be on the Preseason All-ACC team next season. Hodges has the talent to go from being a Freshman All-American to a First Team All-American.