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Samford’s Hodges Making, Nearing History

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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As Samford chases a championship, Devlin Hodges is in pursuit of his own title.

Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges continues to make a remarkable run at history, moving closer to Steve McNair's all-time FCS passing record. Now second on the career list with 13,776 yards, Hodges has moved past the likes of current NFL star Jimmy Garoppolo and former Southern Conference standout Scott Riddle in the rankings in recent weeks. Hodges, after throwing for 1,836 yards over his last four games, has a very real chance to finish ahead of McNair as the level's most-productive passer ever.

With two regular season games remaining, Hodges needs 721 yards, or 360.5 yards per game, to break McNair's record; Hodges is averaging 386.1 per contest this year. He, since the start of October, has thrown for 562 yards, 473, 402 and 399 in four consecutive games, all wins for the Bulldogs. Samford is in position to claim a Southern Conference championship with upcoming victories over The Citadel and East Tennessee State, success that would come with at least one more opportunity for the Hodges in the form of the FCS Playoffs.  

It has already been a season for the record books for Hodges. The senior signal caller leads the nation in passing by more than 500 yards, ranks number one in touchdown passes and number two in completion percentage. Correspondingly, Samford slots fourth in total offense and ninth in scoring offense. Winners of four in a row, the Bulldogs, with Hodges out in front, control their own destiny for a SoCon title and a third straight postseason appearance. 

In an early season game at Florida State, Hodges threw for 475 yards and two scores. He, against Western Carolina, set new league marks with 562 passing yards and 586 total yards, throwing six touchdown passes and rushing for another. The very next week versus VMI, Hodges compiled 473 yards through the air, scoring seven times again. With top ten Wofford in town later for a must-win game, an early statement was made when Hodges threw three touchdown passes, including a 73-yarder on the third play, less than 18 minutes after kickoff.

Along the way, with 40-of-52 efficiency for 402 yards at Furman, Hodges became the SoCon's all-time leading passer and FCS record holder for career completion percentage. The single game record included, he, with back-to-back-to-back staggering performances, set new marks for passing yards over two and three game spans, too. He is poised to soon break into the historical top ten in total touchdown passes. 

Hodges, in addition to being the most prolific quarterback in the country, has run for a score in four consecutive outings and has been Samford's leading rusher in three of the last five. 

The consistent work-rate, for Hodges, really is stunning. Since his freshman year, Hodges is averaging 350 yards passing per game. His growth has mirrored his head coach's playing career, as Chris Hatcher remains one of the more productive players ever in NCAA Division II. He is the Gulf South's all-time leader in passing touchdowns and completions and, as a senior, won the Harlon Hill Trophy given to the nation's player. Currently, Hodges is one of the favorites for the FCS's Walter Payton Award. 

As Samford chases a championship, Hodges is in pursuit of his own title. This Bulldog may soon be the GOAT. Hodges is already an all-timer; he's close to even more.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports