Rashie Hodge Jr. has seen success in every step of his young football career.
He was a freshman when Mountain Pointe finished undefeated in 2013, winning the state title and ending the season as one of the top-ranked teams in the country. As a junior and senior, he began to breakout as a true playmaker, leading the defense from the linebacker position while also contributing on offense at running back.
Hodge went on to star at Glendale Community College for two years before signing with New Mexico State. A breakout season in 2019 was followed by him and the rest of the Aggies sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now with two years of eligibility still remaining, Hodge is searching for what he believes will be the final stop of his collegiate career before chasing his longtime dream of being drafted into the NFL.
“I see myself playing somewhere really soon and making an impact on the field,” Hodge said. “I miss the game. I want to find a program with a good culture. Going to the NFL is one of my goals I want to check off.”
Hodge’s first and only full season of play at New Mexico State in 2019 was filled with accolades.
He started for the Aggies at outside linebacker, showcasing his speed and overall field awareness by covering receivers from sideline to sideline. Hodge racked up 71 total tackles, a team-high 10 for a loss, 3 fumble recoveries and an interception.
His performance quickly gained him notoriety from national writers, who began to call Hodge a potential lock for the NFL Draft when he declares. But with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham shutting down all contact sports at every level across the state due to the pandemic, New Mexico State was forced to forego the 2020 season. It set back Hodge’s timeline and overall goals as a player, but that hasn’t hampered his confidence.
Seeking a new opportunity, Hodge announced last September he had entered the transfer portal. With the NCAA announcing at the start of the pandemic that 2020 would not count against an athlete’s status in terms of eligibility, Hodge can still play collegiately for two years.
“I was banking on this year to make a statement,” Hodge said. “The season getting canceled, it was another obstacle. But you have to embrace adversity in life. New Mexico State was a great experience, and it helped the mental aspect of my game get better.
“But I just feel like it wasn’t the place for me. I just want to find a place where I can continue to grow as a football player and as a man.”
Hodge’s rise to becoming a standout defensive player started as a freshman at Mountain Pointe. At the time, he wanted to absorb all he could from perhaps one of the best high school football teams ever in the state, which was littered with Division I talent.
He learned from the likes of defensive tackle Natrell Curtis and wide receivers Emmanuel Butler and Jalen Brown. Hodge also began to take after running back Trey Lauer and linebacker Wesley Payne, one of the most dominant defenders in the 2014 class.
“That was one of the best teams ever,” Hodge said. “Being around people like that, those are guys that had that opportunity to go to the next level and that was something we dreamed about at our young age. Seeing them around campus and having them come into the weight room to talk to us, it was pretty cool.”
Now back home in Phoenix, Hodge spends his days working out to stay ready for any opportunity that comes his way. An early morning workout followed by field work at least three times a week fuels his desire to keep in touch with schools currently showing interest in signing him to their 2021 recruiting class as a transfer.
Having played against and made a significant impact against the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss and other power five schools while at New Mexico State, he believes in his ability to compete for any program in the country. Overall, he hopes to soon sign with a school to continue his football career while representing Mountain Pointe and Phoenix as he did with the Aggies.
“There’s so many great names that have come out of Mountain Pointe, it’s good to be part of that company,” Hodge said. “This part of my life is critical. I just have to keep doing what I can to stay in shape and be patient so when it comes down to making my decision, I choose a school that is the place I want to be.”