Jaydon Hodge is one of the best players from the Ocala, FL area in the Class of 2022.
The 5-foot-11, 152-pound Hodge, who attends West Port High School, is a dynamic player that works on both sides of the ball as a running back and safety.
Hodge has received plenty of recognition during his outstanding career, such as: 352 Pigskin All-Star, 2017 Sr. Wolf Pack Hustle Award Recipient, 2018 West Port JV Offensive MVP.
Hodge is humbled by the accolades.
“These awards and events mean a lot to me because I can take these special moments and milestones with me throughout my life and reflect back looking at what I accomplished,” Hodge said. “It was an astonishing experience when I played in my first all-star game. It was a big accomplishment for my football career and was one of the biggest games I played in.”
No matter the opponent, on each snap Hodge is determined to give it his all.
Hodge is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Hodge steps between the lines.
“I describe my mindset at safety with three words: intensity, integrity, and intelligence,” Hodge said. “When I go onto that field whether it’s practice or a game I have all three of those components.”
Hodge has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the gridiron. Hodge tells why he enjoys the game of football so much.
“What I love the most about playing is that every Friday night I get to showcase my talent and ability on the field in front of my teammates, coaches, family, friends, and the young boys and girls that look up to me,” Hodge said.
Hodge has learned many valuable lessons from playing football that he applies to his everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Playing this game of football taught me that in life teamwork, discipline, goal-setting, success and failure, and time management is all a part of life,” Hodge said.
Hodge recalls his favorite football memory.
“I will always remember this memory. It was 2016 when I played for the Jr. Wolf Pack. We were playing the Jr. Knights and we were both undefeated. The score was 14-7 we were up and the Knights were at their goal line about to score to try to tie the game up. It was 4th and goal in fourth quarter with about 30 seconds left in the game,” Hodge said. “I remember looking to the sideline at Coach Cowan before the ball snapped and he said ‘Hodge we need you now!’ I turned back and looked at the QB. He snapped the ball and I was coming off the edge getting past the block and I sacked the quarterback for a turnover on downs. I will always remember that play because it was the game-winning sack.”
Rondo Fernandez has coached Hodge for three years with the Sr. Wolfpack, Mojo Mafia 7v7 and Westport High School.
Fernandez explains the best parts of Hodge’s game.
“I believe he will be best suited at safety. He is tough, very coachable, and works very hard at his craft. Very serious about this sport,” Fernandez said. “He tries to be the best. Once you coach it he does it. He keep getting better and better.”
Hodge takes his role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Hodge makes sure he’s a daily positive influence on his peers.
“I demonstrate being a good teammate by always saying positive things and using positive actions towards my teammates. Yeah sometimes they mess up but no one is perfect. Everyone’s going to mess up every now and then. So I tell them ‘Keep your head up fix it next play’,” Hodge said. “I’ve given my teammates a lot of advice but I believe the best advice I’ve given them is to practice how you play and to finish every rep strong because you never know who’s watching you.”
Fernandez adds that Hodge is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“He’s a spiritual leader, He puts God first and is unashamed,” Fernandez said. “He corrects kids on and off the field. He always leads by example.”
Hodge is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.
“What I learned from my coaches about being a better player and person is to have respect. You have to respect the game and respect everyone around you,” Hodge said. “The best advice my coaches have given me is to give 110 percent every rep. No matter if it’s in practice or it’s in game give it your all.”
Fernandez is an advocate of Hodge’s capabilities.
“I have watched him shut down kids much older than him,” Fernandez said. “Tough runs, Some great catches. I don’t thing there is one that stands out. He does it all.”
In addition to making clutch plays, Hodge also has a high level of football IQ as well.
Hodge has excellent football awareness that puts him in position to thrive.
“He is very smart, level-headed and he retains what is taught,” Fernandez said.
Hodge is on the grind to perfect and hone his craft in any way possible.
“He has extreme work ethic. He doesn’t talk much while working,” Fernandez said. “Always shows up for extra work.”
Fernandez explains why he compares Hodge to this player.
“I compare him to Mike Rumph because he will grow to be tall and lanky,” Fernandez said. “He will be a super tough defender for the opposition to deal with.”
Hodge patterns his mentality after this standout.
“I look up to DeShon Elliott,” Hodge said. “He’s a hard working safety that gives his all when he’s in the game. Those hard hits and efficient ball IQ really amps me up when I watch his highlights.”
Hodge is constantly striving for greatness in everything that he does.
“There’s one goal I have in mind on and off the field and that’s to be successful,” Hodge said. “No matter what I do on or off the field I give a 110 percent of my effort to be successful in the classroom, on the field, and in society itself.”
Hodge has his sights set on becoming a Miami Hurricane.
“My dream college is the University of Miami. It’s my dream college because the coaching staff, the campus, and the fans are amazing,” Hodge said. “I would love being in that green and orange one day showcasing my talent.”
Hodge lists history as his favorite subject in school.
“History is my favorite subject because I love learning about the past of people, places, and valuable things,” Hodge said.
Fernandez believes the sky is the limit as long as Hodge continues to stay hungry.
“He has the potential to be anything he wants to in life. Strong family, strong mind, strong body, great work ethic, great student,” Fernandez said. “I can’t wait to see him reach his full potential. He is blessed for sure.”
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