During the Bulldog’s final game of the 2018 season on Saturday, Nov. 17, senior quarterback Devlin Hodges threw for 404 passings yards, which made him the sole leader of most passing yards in FCS history.
Hodges threw for a total of 14,584 yards in his four years at Samford. The number to beat for most career passing yards in the FCS was 14,496, which was held by Steve McNair — an Alcorn state star who turned into a Tennessee Titans legend. In addition to his passing yards, Hodges ended his college career as the SoCon’s all-time leader in total offense with 15,601 total yards in his career. He was also recently named the SoCon Offensive MVP for the third consecutive season.
“The biggest thing for me is just get the win,” Hodges said in an interview with ESPN. “Obviously, I’m glad I did. I said at the beginning of the year that that was a goal. Who wouldn’t want to be the all-time passing leader? I’m just really glad that I’ve had a lot of help along the way. I’ve had some great guys come through here and helped me be the best I can be. I’m just so thankful for them.”
Hodges has been on the hunt for these records well before this season began. He was named to the Walter Payton Award watch list in July for the second time in his career. He entered the season with two SoCon Offensive MVP’s and 21 Samford Football records. Hodges finished his career on Nov. 17 with the undisputed label of the greatest Bulldog quarterback ever.
“It’s not very often that you get to play with a guy that sets the all-time record in anything,” Head Coach Chris Hatcher said in an interview with Samford Sports. “It took a lot of guys to make that happen for him, but he’s very well deserving.”
The records broken by Hodges in his career were made possible by an exceptionally talented receiving core led by senior Kelvin McKnight. McKnight ends his college career as Samford’s all-time leader in career receiving yards with 4,144, receptions with 313, and touchdown receptions with 32. This season, McKnight caught 100 passes for 1,453 yards and nine touchdowns. He had at least 100 receiving yards in 10 of Samford’s 11 games this season. The chemistry between these two has been a crucial aspect to the pass-heavy Samford offense.
The Bulldogs finished the 2018 season with a 6-5 record, putting them one game short of an FCS playoff bid. Along with turning a 1-4 start into a respectable 6-5 record, the incredible performances of Hodges and McKnight will be what most Bulldog fans remember from this season. The Bulldogs will make their return on Aug. 24, 2019 against Youngstown State with some big shoes to fill and some unfinished business.
Carson Caulfield, Sports Writer
[photo courtesy of Samford Athletics]