Former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL linebacker Abdul Hodge was hired by USD head coach Bob Nielson to be the new outside linebackers coach.
Hodge, an all-Big Ten and all-American from his time at Iowa, reached out to Neilson about the position over the off-season. Hodge was a third round pick in 2006 and played five seasons in the NFL before injures and other factors forced him out of the league.
He spent last season as a consultant for Iowa and interned with the Tennessee Titans. Hodge spent time coaching high school football and also founded and operated a software tech business.
“His background isn’t traditional–he went into playing football professionally after college rather than going into coaching right away,” Nielson told GoYotes. “And then he worked his way into coaching with a combination of experiences at the high school, college and professional level.”
Hodge has connections to the area with a good friend being Mount Vernon, S.D. native and fellow former Hawkeye Chad Greenway. Hodge’s brother, Rasheed, played football at Dakota Wesleyan and now lives in Brandon, S.D.
Hodge is spending a lot of time getting caught up to speed with new USD defensive coordinator Travis Johansen’s playbook. Hodge’s NFL experience helps with his ability to learn and teach Johansen’s playbook to his new players.
“I’m excited about what Travis brings with his leadership ability,” Hodge said. “He’s very creative from a defensive standpoint. It’s going to be great to be involved in that kind of a system as a coach.”