Khalil Hodge was once the state’s leading tackler at Stockton-St. Mary’s who had trouble with landing a scholarship offer from a Football Bowl Subdivision program.
But that changed when the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Class of 2015 graduate took the one hour, 32 minute trek to City College of San Francisco and play junior college football.
The undersized and under-recruited linebacker received two FBS pledges from the University of Idaho and Buffalo during the week of Nov. 16, solidifying his case as a bona fide national recruit and making Hodge realize that going to CCSF was the best thing to happen to his football career.
“Coming to San Francisco helped me so much with getting exposure to different big time schools,” Hodge said. “City is a storied program known for getting kids maximum exposure and I felt like I had the talent to go bigger than the options that I had coming out of high school. So I rolled the dice a little bit and now I feel like I am starting to get recruited the way I felt like I deserved.”
In Stockton, Hodge was known for penetrating through gaping holes along the line and halt running backs in their tracks. He still terrorizes running backs at the collegiate level, except he’s added pass coverage skills and forced fumbles to his list of strengths.
Hodge intercepted two passes and jarred two footballs loose for the 10-1 Rams, who will face Chabot College on Saturday, Nov. 28 in the Northern California Football Championship game.
Like the way he closes fast on anyone holding the football, Hodge said his recruiting period picked up in a rush.
“It feels great to land two offers especially because it happened so quick,” Hodge said. “With the season beginning to wind down, I was beginning to wonder what I was going to do for next year. Whether it was get the opportunity to leave or have to come back to CCSF for the Spring.”
Hodge added that the Vandals and Bulls want him on board in Dec. 2015 and “potentially contend for a job right away.”
Said Hodge: “They both want me to play inside, either at the Mike (inside linebacker spot) or at Will (weakside outside linebacker) and be more accustomed to what I did in high school. Both staffs are highly interested and want me to get over there for a visit in early December.”
Hodge’s transition from St. Mary’s and CCSF wasn’t hard. He said the two powerhouses carry the same level of expectations.
“Both are big time programs at the high school and JUCO level, plus they have great staffs who really take care of their players,” Hodge said.
While the Sun Belt and Metro Athletic Conference (MAC) schools want Hodge to jump into its talent pool early, Hodge said he won’t commit to either team right away.
“I'm actually going to ride this recruiting period out,” Hodge said. “In high school, I always dreamed of getting highly recruited and it didn't really happen so now that it's starting to pick up, I definitely don't want to cut it (the recruiting period) short. Also, I have never been to Idaho or New York, so hopefully as soon as the season is over I want to visit both before I make a decision that will affect me and my family for the rest of my life.”