July 13, 2024

Jamoi Hodge fueled by TCU’s lack of preseason love from Big 12

TCU Horned Frogs Football

TCU linebacker Jamoi Hodge attempts to make a tackle during the second quarter against Colorado Friday September 2, 2022 at Folsom Field. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The senior linebacker has put TCU’s loss to Georgia in the rearview mirror,

However, Jamoi Hodge believes the College Football world is still punishing the team for that embarrassment this preseason. The Horned Frogs were picked to finish fifth in last week’s Big 12 preseason media poll. Although TCU received three first place votes, Hodge felt the lack of recognition was a bit disrespectful.

The Horned Frogs lost the Heisman runner-up, and seven other players to the NFL Draft, so people are expecting them to take a step back. Hodge doesn’t though, and in his mind the team is eager to prove the naysayers wrong. After all, the Horned Frogs accomplished so much, but have no hardware to show for it because they came up short in the two biggest games of the season.

“I can’t even explain how much hungrier we want it now than we did last year,” Hodge said. “We left a lot on the table, but we weren’t successful in the parts that we needed to be, so now we’re about to finish the job and take back what we should’ve had last year.”

There’s no denying Hodge and his teammates have huge chip on their shoulders approaching fall camp. The North Carolina native started all 15 games last season, and finished third on the team in tackles.

Despite the fact that Dylan Horton, Dee Winters and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson are now in the NFL, TCU’s defense still has several more players with experience, leadership and production. Not to mention there’s an All-Big 12 caliber defender at every level of the unit.

Linebacker Johnny Hodges led the Horned Frogs in tackles. Cornerback Josh Newton broke up 12 passes and earned first-team, All-Big 12 honors. Safety Bud Clark picked off five passes. So Hodge believes the sky’s the limit to what the team can accomplish, regardless of the lack of respect.

“Now we hold each other to a higher expectation,” he said. “You don’t have to respect us, but when you come see us play this year and see the season we’ll have, you won’t have no choice but to respect us.”

The defense will likely carry the Horned Frogs early on while the offense gets adjusted under new Coordinator Art Briles. Hodge considers himself an enforcer of the defense, and takes pride in setting the tone. His physicality is what separates him from the rest of the linebackers. He’s been working on his pass rush, tracking the ball. The former three-star prospect is confident in the value he brings to the table too.

“That’s why you look at the film, you look on third downs, and when it’s time to get off the field, I’m going to make sure that we get off the field,” the senior said. “I’m a physical guy, and you see me running through offensive linemen that usually weigh 100 more pounds than me.”

With 142 total tackles over the past two seasons, opposing offenses have to locate big No. 6 on every play. Hodge is always lurking and takes pride in eating ball carriers for breakfast. The six-foot-two, 245-pounder is determined to make sure that his teammates are all staying dialed in on the task at hand.

“We’ll be stronger, especially now that we got the experience and been to the top level last year.”