One standout Sunshine State prospect on Clemson’s recruiting radar for the class of 2022 is Jaydon Hodge, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound safety from Forest High School in Ocala, Fla.
College coaches have not been allowed to scout prospects in person since the NCAA dead period was implemented last March due to COVID-19, but Clemson has visited Hodge’s school to check him out in the past, and the Tigers have expressed interest in Hodge through conversations with his head coach.
“My coach said they love that I’m a very academic student,” Hodge told The Clemson Insider. “I’m very good in the classroom. Going to Clemson, that really means a lot. That’s one of their core values is to be very well-educated. They like that I’m educated. They also like that I’m a very versatile safety. This is what my coach told me, that I’m a very good versatile safety. They just haven’t pulled the trigger yet for the offer.”
Hodge, who has collected over two dozen scholarship offers, is keeping his fingers crossed in hopes of an offer from Clemson moving forward.
“Everybody would love to get an offer from Clemson, man,” he said. “That’s pretty big time right there.”
Hodge is a fan of how Dabo Swinney runs his program and the discipline that is instilled in the players who are a part of the program.
“I love the discipline, man,” Hodge said. “They’re a very disciplined team. It makes a great team. When you have a disciplined team, you can go to as many national championships as you want, as many playoffs as you want. They’re really disciplined. I like that about them.”
Of the schools currently on his offer list, Hodge named Mississippi State, Coastal Carolina and Kentucky as the three standing out to him with regard to how often he hears from them and how consistently they’ve been recruiting him.
As things currently stand, the Bulldogs of the SEC West are the frontrunner in his recruitment.
“My favorite is Mississippi State right now,” he said. “They’ve been consistent. Their fan base is amazing. It’s a great SEC team, a great college town, and it’s in a great division – the hardest division in college football.”
Hodge is looking to narrow down his recruitment to a top group of schools before the end of this month, though that is subject to change.
“As of right now, that’s what I’m thinking,” he said. “I don’t know if something might change and I might just wait a little bit. But as of right now, I plan on cutting down my list to eight, and that will be in February.”
As for Hodge’s commitment timeline, it is still up in the air and depends on whether on-campus recruiting opens back up this spring and if prospects are allowed to make college visits again; right now, the NCAA dead period remains in effect through at least April 15, and there is the possibility it could be further extended.
“I’m waiting to see how everything goes,” he said. “If the dead period gets pushed back again, then obviously I’ll make a decision sooner than later.”
Hodge, who has several Ivy League offers to his credit, is a smart student-athlete who says he will bring energy and high character to the college program he ultimately chooses to play for.
“I’m going to bring intensity to the program, most definitely,” he said. “I’m going to bring integrity with me and also bring that intelligence on and off the field to help the university succeed.”
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