Devlin Hodges may be an undrafted rookie out of Samford, but he doesn’t look like it. Or…at least, he doesn’t act like it. He’s still 6’1” and 210 pounds. If he were a bigger prospect, he probably ends up in another school and finds greater success in a more accomplished program. He’s the first Samford graduate to start at quarterback in a game in decades, after all.
But the fact that he doesn’t carry himself like an undrafted rookie out of Samford is a big part of his appeal, and an intangible part of his success. The looseness with which he carries himself also enables him to free his mind and play unencumbered with worry, though not irresponsibly.
Also stemming from his extensive playing time at the college level—you have to play an awful to break the all-time FCS record for passing yards and throw over 100 touchdown passes, after all—Hodges plays with a level of experience that suggests he’s been here before, at least in some aspects, even if he still has plenty of room to grow.
The point is, though, that it’s something everyone around him has noticed, and it doesn’t matter on which side of the ball they play. Take T.J. Watt, for example, who talked about Hodges yesterday. “I think it’s more his presence and how he kind of goes about himself, more than anything, that gives us a spark”, he said.
“It’s just, he’s got that moxy, and he’s got that, ‘I am what I am and take me for what I am’ [attitude]. I think what’s so impressive about him is that he’s just so chill and relaxed out there and you’ve kind of got to look, like, ‘man, you’re the quarterback of an NFL football team right now’”, he went on. “If you look at him, you’d think he’s been doing it for years. So it’s impressive to watch just his demeanor more than anything”.
He’s got the been there, done that demeanor about him, even as he does things for the first time. At least that’s what his teammates see from him in how he carries himself. And for what it’s worth, he does genuinely seem to think the way he acts. There could be good and bad to that, but right now, it’s clearly serving him well.
It’s gotten him to this point, after all, where three quarters of the way into the season he is being given the opportunity to start an important game, by choice. What he does with that opportunity remains to be seen, but nobody in the locker room would be surprised if he goes out there and balls out.