The third player on our list of players to watch for the season is our first offensive player on the list. This player is one who came to the Hokies to play another position, other than the one he is playing right now. This player is a dynamic force on the offensive side of the ball, and is the cause of nightmares for defensive coordinators. The nightmares he causes is only matched by the excitement in which he causes the Hokie Nation. This player is tight end Bucky Hodges.
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In the age of the NFL hybrid tight end, where not only is the player a good blocker, but a dynamic pass catcher, who can line up almost at any receiving position on the field, the Hokies have a real gem. Bucky Hodges not only fits the mold in a blocking and pass catching sense, but in a cerebral way as well. Hodges came to Virginia Tech as a highly recruited quarterback prospect. However, the depth chart was a little full at that position and Hodges switched to the tight end position, as switch Hokie fans are glad he made. Hodges quarterback roots allowed him to understand the route tree and where he needed to be when the ball came to him better than most tight ends.
Last season Hodges was expected to be behind Kalvin Cline, and Ryan Malleck. However, with an injury to Cline in the previous seasons bowl game Hodges moved up in the depth chart. Hodges talent took over, and he forced his way on the field. Hodges finished the year with 45 receptions, most by any freshman tight end at Virginia Tech. Bucky Hodges 45 receptions turned into 526 yards and 6 touchdowns. He became a favorite target of new quarterback Michael Brewer. The young tight end lined up all over the offense and forced the defense to recognize where he was on the field. The jump ball became a weapon for the Hokies with Hodges in the game.
This season I look for more of the same from Hodges. He has become a favorite target of Michael Brewer, and consistency in receivers is important to have for a second year quarterback. Bucky Hodges also, will give depth to a receiving corps that is a tad thin. Even though he is a tight end Hodges ability to line up in the slot as well as the outside receiving spots will add the ability to run certain sets which the Hokies might not have been confidant in running because of lack of personal. Also, Hodges background as a quarterback adds a different wrinkle to the offense which defensive coordinators will have to prepare for. Imagine Bucky taking a screen pass and slinging a deep ball to a wide open Isaiah Ford for a touchdown.
In my opinion Hodges is one of the most talented tight ends to ever play at Virginia Tech, and is probably one of the most talented in the country. He will be a definite force on the offense this year. Hodges should help bring the offense from one of the worst in the country to hopefully one of the best. One thing is for sure when the Hokies get into the red zone Bucky Hodges is definitely going to be one to watch.