Gerald Hodges’ journey from Paulsboro, New Jersey to the National Football League is complete.
The former Penn State linebacker was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round of the NFL Draft with the 120th overall pick.
Hodges is coming off a strong 2012 senior season with the Nittany Lions that saw him lead the defense with 109 tackles. Starting in all 12 contests, he also added 8.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and two interceptions.
Hodges will join a 10-6 Vikings squad in the NFC North that qualified for the playoffs last season and will look to follow the recent success of other Penn State linebackers in the NFL, most notably Sean Lee with the Dallas Cowboys and NaVorro Bowman with the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings were among a handful of teams to meet with Hodges when the linebacker attended the NFL Combine earlier this spring.
The selection of Hodges marks the second Penn State player off the board as defensive tackle Jordan Hill was selected last night in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks. Linebacker Michael Mauti and center Matt Stankiewitch are other Nittany Lions that could hear their names called today as the 2013 draft concludes.
If his Twitter account is an indication, Hodges cannot wait to get his NFL career underway.
@vikings I’m proud to be apart!! Lets go get a World championship!!!
— Gerald Hodges (@g_hodges6) April 27, 2013
Update: 3:36 p.m. — After being drafted, Hodges participated in a conference call with Vikings reporters where he covered many topics including his switch from safety to linebacker early in his career, playing for Joe Paterno, helping hold the team together last summer, and several other talking points. Hodges said he started crying when he saw that he had been selected. He is not exactly sure which linebacker position he will be playing yet but is excited to have the legendary Mike Singletary as his position coach. The full interview can be found here.