Skipping senior prom to get a head start on his college career

Skipping+senior+prom+to+get+a+head+start+on+his+college+career

Cassidy Wood, Multimedia Contributor

At this time of year, most 18-year-olds are getting ready for their high school senior prom.  

Or senior trips.  

Or graduation parties.  

That isn’t the case for true freshman Isaiah Hodgins.

After getting recruited by thirteen Division-I football programs, Hodgins ultimately committed to Oregon State.  He would be in his last semester of high school right now, but instead he’s at OSU preparing for the 2017 season.

“This program, even beyond football, is just so great,” Hodgins said.  “I love it here.  It’s everything I thought it would be, and a little bit more.  The coaches and players have done a great job with bringing me in; and I’m just really happy I get to be a Beaver.”

Coming into a new program so early can be difficult; but according to Oregon State’s new wide receiver coach Jason Phillips, Hodgins has handled the transition well.

“I think Hodgins is doing a great job,” Phillips said.  “Especially considering he should be in high school right now.  He’s coming in here, and adapting to the whole situation.  It’s typically hard at first for a freshman to get comfortable; so I think it’s good he’s here early, and can get that head start.”

In Hodgins’ final high school season, he finished with 94 receptions, 1,521 yards and 21 touchdowns.  He was a dominant force on the field; but now playing for a Pac-12 school has already presented its own challenges.

“[Hodgins] is still going through that freshman transition,” said head coach Gary Andersen.  “He was a dominating player in high school football, so I think he came into the program having high expectations of himself.  But you just don’t know the difference, until you go through the difference. So he gets a little bit frustrated; but I just tell him to keep on plugging, and he’s doing that.”

Hodgins, rated a four-star recruit, is 6-foot-3 and 194-pound.  He’s a big potential playmaker for the Beavers, and he proved that in Saturday’s scrimmage–finishing with five catches for 82 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown.

“He made some tremendous plays,” Andersen said following Saturday’s scrimmage.  “He had that catch over the middle, he ran his routes crisp, and the quarterbacks are now believing in him.  

“So it was great to see him have some success today, and see him leave with a smile on his face.”

“I think I did pretty good today,” Hodgins said.  “But I still have a lot of things to work on…I need to learn more routes, and give more effort on some of the blocking plays.  So, every day, I’m just going to work on those things and talk about them with Coach Phillips.”

Senior wide receiver Jordan Villamin is another person who has been helping Hodgins adapt to the new lifestyle.

“I think Hodgins is doing really well,” Villamin said.  “That’s my little brother out there!  I think he’s coming out strong, and making plays. I’m excited to see what he can bring this year.”

The next nine weeks of the offseason will be a crucial time for Hodgins to learn and grow as an Oregon State football player.  He has his size and speed, but will need  to study the film and playbook to become a more confident player.

“There are a lot of new things getting thrown at me; there are a lot of new things I have to learn,” Hodgins said.  “But, at the end of the day, I chose this program.  So I need to accept the challenges that come.  

I hope to really master the playbook throughout the offseason.  I think that’s the biggest thing holding me back right now.  I need to play more confident, and I need to know where to be at all times, and that comes from studying.”

“He needs to take advantage of these next nine weeks,” Andersen said.  “And learn in every moment he can. Study the film, the playbook, and learn the defenses. Develop that pre-snap awareness and really understand our offense inside and out.”

The Beavers will play against each other in the annual Spring Game; which is happening this Saturday, March 18th.  Hodgins is expected to come out and make some big plays.

“I expect Hodgins to come in and be a great contributor for us,” Phillips said.  “We didn’t bring him here to sit him down, and watch other people play.  So hopefully he’ll continue to go at the rate he’s going, and I’d love to watch him out there playing for us.”

“The sky’s the limit,” Andersen said.  “And he’s responsible for where he falls in that sky.  We’ll help him; but ultimately, it is his responsibility to be accountable and step up to the challenges.”