Another piece to the 2015 Texas Longhorns offensive line class fell into place on Thursday evening when news broke that East Mississippi Community College offensive tackle Brandon Hodges pledged to the Horns, according to multiple reports.
A visitor for the TCU game on Thanksgiving, Hodges had confirmed Texas as his leader over the weekend, when he also said that he plans on taking on official visit to Missouri that likely won't happen now.
Mostly an unknown when the Longhorns offered back in September, Hodges will head to Austin despite the fact that he recently received an offer from home-state Mississippi State, along with invitations to play at Louisville, South Florida, Georgia State, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Texas State, and Western Kentucky.
So the early evaluation by offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline deserves some credit here, as the Horns were one of the first schools to offer the 6'5, 295-pounder who will graduate this month and enroll at Texas in January.
Still unrated by two services, Hodges is a consensus two-star prospect ranked as the No. 183 player in junior college, the No. 22 offensive tackle among those ranks, and the No. 46 junior college player in the state of Mississippi.
Unfortunately, there's little video available of Hodges, which may have slowed his recruitment, but there's little doubt that Wickline can identify and develop talent. And since Hodges is perceived as the most ready to contribute of the seven offensive line now committed and will have spring practice to develop, his pledge is much more significant than his modest two-star rating would suggest.
The video that Scout.com has up now doesn't provide much insight -- most of the clips are of Hodges in pass protection and rarely challenged, though he can rock opponents with his punch and shows nice agility at times in forcing pass rushers past the quarterback. Since EMCC often uses the quick passing game to get the ball out of the quarterback's hand quickly, Hodges doesn't always have to take deep drops to avoid pressure on the passer.
It would, however, be nice to see more from him as a run blocker in terms of moving the line of scrimmage.
The good news is that he plays left tackle for EMCC. If can can show more strength at the point of attack than current starter Marcus Hutchins, he has a solid shot of winning the job there in 2015.
After the Wednesday decommitment of South Oak Cliff running back Jordan Stevenson, the Texas class is once again at 20 pledges (including soft commit John Burt and likely grayshirt Matthew Merrick) and remains the No. 18 group nationally and the No. 1 class in the Big 12, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings.