PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers are in good hands at quarterback over the next three seasons with Ben Roethlisberger signing a new contract, but what about the future? Perhaps that’s why the organization is taking a flyer on undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges from Samford University.
He passed Steve McNair’s 24-year-old record as the FCS career passing leader, however his senior year was capped by winning the Walter Payton Award, the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy and his offensive coordinator, Russ Callaway, saw it first hand.
“Basically four games where he threw for 400-plus yards and we were like holy cow,” Callaway recalled. “This guy’s on fire and we saw it come to fruition then. Really h e was more worried about winning games but he wanted to kind of send it off with that (Walter Payton) award and he did.”
Hodges rewrote history at Samford, owning 23 different school records by the time he left and clearly he turned heads just last week at Steelers Rookie mini camp, but his next challenge will be even greater, competing against a crowded, veteran quarterback room.
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“Honestly, in his mind, he thinks he’s every bit as good and belongs at that level,” Callaway said. “He took that approach here. Something just comes out in that kid when it’s competition time and to me that’s the biggest thing that I can say. He’s the ultimate competitor.”
The odds are stacked against Hodges, however it’s not unheard of for a small school quarterback to make it in the NFL after guys like Steve McNair, Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo have paved the way.
“If we look up four years from now,” Callaway said. “And that guy is contributing on an NFL roster, I would not be surprised.”
Just something to keep an eye on with OTA’s next week.
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