Undrafted outside linebacker Zack Hodges has had a very long road to get to the NFL, as he signed a free agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts shortly after the draft.
His father died when he was 18 months old. His grandfather passed away when he was 14 years old. His mother died suddenly of a stroke when he was a junior in high school. He went through periods of his life when he was homeless, and he battled depression at one point as well. And yet despite the odds, Hodges graduated from Harvard, was named the Ivy League defensive player of the year, and is now with the Colts pursuing his NFL dream.
Without a doubt, Hodges has had a long road to the NFL, but his is an inspiring story of persevering and reaching his dream of being on an NFL team. Now he's looking to actually make the team out of training camp.
He had a successful career at Harvard, playing in 39 games and notching 118 tackles (41 for loss), 26 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, a pick, and five passes defensed. He was named to the All-Ivy League team at defensive end in 2012, was the Ivy League defensive player of the year in 2013, and the co-Ivy League defensive player of the year in 2014. He earned a number of other recognitions in 2014 as well, earning invites to play in both the East-West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl.
Hodges had a very successful collegiate career, and he is looking to translate that success to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL. And he is actually a player to keep an eye on as he attempts to do so. The problem is that the outside linebacker position is one that has a number of key players at it who are locks or the roster, as Robert Mathis, Trent Cole, Jonathan Newsome, and Erik Walden all are guaranteed to make the 53-man roster and Bjoern Werner stands a good chance as well. That doesn't leave too many open spots for guys like Hodges, Daniel Adongo, Cam Johnson, and fellow undrafted rookie Cody Galea. Hodges has the talent and the production to make him a player who might be worth working with, and if that doesn't mean a spot on the 53-man roster, it could very well mean a spot on the practice squad.