Assuming he follows through on his commitment to the University of Miami, Class of 2019 tight end Larry Hodges has a chance to be a thrilling talent the Hurricanes can use in various ways.
Highlight tapes, by their very nature, can be misleading, but Hodges, by the sheer number of big-time plays he makes on video, looks to be the real deal.
Unlike many other tight ends who are restricted — by a lack of speed and/or skills — to short pass pattern, Hodges is a deep target. He high points passes with two hands and snatches them down, and he sticks the landing on one-hand grabs, too.
“In my 24 years of coaching, he has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen,” said his high school coach, Tampa Jesuit’s Matt Thompson.
Hodges, a 6-2, 235-pounder, is not big enough to be a prototypical tight end who will overpower defensive ends with his blocking.
But Hodges’ highlight tape shows a physical player who is exceptionally dangerous in yards after catch. Thompson has used him often as a Wildcat quarterback, as a running back and even as a kickoff returner.
Thompson said Hodges’ arm is explosively strong, making him a legitimate threat to do more than run out of the Wildcat.
“He can hit the goalpost from midfield,” Thompson said of what is a 60-yard toss. “He does it every day in practice.”
So far in his prep career, Hodges has completed 2 of 4 passes for 21 yards and one touchdown. He has run for 399 yards, seven touchdowns and a 6.8 average. And he has caught 63 passes for 747 yards, an 11.9-yard average and five scores.
Hodges runs a 4.6 in the 40, making him too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs.
He also bench-presses 290 pounds.
“Larry is stronger than he looks,” Thompson said, “especially in his lower body.”
Thompson said there is “no indication” Hodges will back out of his commitment to Miami, but the coach added that Oklahoma and Texas are pushing hard to get him to flip.
In addition, Virginia Tech is listed with Miami as 50/50 on their chances of ultimately signing Hodges, according to 247 Sports website.
“He loves Miami, from all indications,” Thompson said. “But he’s going to entertain those guys [Oklahoma and Texas].”
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Hurricanes have taken three recruiting hits during the past few days, most notably losing out on two talented, 6-foot-4 wide receivers, Frank Ladson and Leonard Manuel.
▪ Ladson, a Class of 2019 target from South Dade High, chose Clemson over the hometown Canes. He is ranked the third-best receiver in the nation.
▪ Manuel, a 2020 target from Ocala Vanguard, is the No. 1 receiver in the nation for his class. He had previously been committed to Miami but has reopened his recruitment and may be leaning toward Georgia.
▪ Miami also lost a commitment from offensive lineman Brandon Cunningham, who is now vowing to attend Mississippi State.