Bucky Hodges has straight-up star power and NFL potential.
So far in this series, we’ve told you about some fine young men who have done some great things on and off the field, making you proud that they’re Hokies and that they represent the university so well.
That’s not why Bucky Hodges is on our list, though. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve never interviewed Bucky or talked to him for a second, and I have no idea if he spends all day rescuing kittens from trees and singing Christmas carols at nursing homes, all while learning to quote Shakespeare and ponder the hidden truths of the philosophical teachings of Friedrich Nietzsche. For all I know, he does all these things. Or maybe not.
But I do know one thing: Bucky Hodges is an extremely talented athlete and football player, and he brings that on-field star power and productivity that every team needs.
Productivity, you say? Hodges was the most productive tight end of the Frank Beamer era in 2014, as a redshirt-freshman.
He’s got the whacky hair. He’s got the physique. He’s got the stats. He’s got a bit of an attitude. And the opposition can’t figure out how to stop him. When opposing coaches turn on the tape to scout the Hokies, they see #7 and say, “Uh-oh.”
Bucky was the highest-scoring non-kicker on the team in 2014, with eight touchdowns — seven receiving, and one recovering a blocked punt in the end zone.
He made a statement early that he was going to be a force to deal with, scoring the go-ahead TD against Ohio State:
He had a strong season, including the go-ahead touchdown catch on the road against #19 Duke in a 17-16 Hokie win.
Then Bucky was a human highlight film against Virginia as the Hokies extended their streak over the Cavs to 11. Check out the recovery of the blocked punt, then fast-forward to the 1:39 mark for Bucky’s long catch and subsequent game-winning touchdown reception.
That’s three critical go-ahead touchdowns in three of Tech’s biggest wins last season. We all love good citizens, but you also need guys who make plays. Bucky’s that guy.
We get emails all the time from people who have talked to Scot Loeffler at a Hokie Club function or the like, and they email us to relay what Loeffler told them. (Scot is very engaging and forthcoming one-on-one.) We don’t always run right to the boards with a “Loeffler said” post out of respect for Scot, but we will tell you that Loeffler sees Bucky Hodges as a future NFL player, no ifs, ands, or buts. Bucky’s on the pro football train, and you need that on your team, no question.
Sometimes, with the talent comes the swagger, and Bucky’s got that, too. In the highlight against Ohio State, he was flagged for excessive celebration, and after his long catch against Virginia, he followed a UVa DB into the end zone and gave him an earful that was close to drawing a penalty.
I don’t like to have a team full of trash-talking morons, but I do like to have at least one guy who knows he’s better than you, and he lets you hear it. Bucky’s that guy, too. As long as he keeps it on the right side of the line, you need that in-your-face confidence on your football team. I’ll take the occasional, non-critical 15-yarder just for the sake of having a guy who sets the tone.
Bucky’s good enough that he might leave early for the NFL, and those guys are difference makers. It’s Bucky’s physical gifts, productivity, and timely, clutch play-making ability that make him one of Our Favorite Players for 2015. He’s going to have a big season.
For the full list so far:
Our Favorite Players 2015