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April 27, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Minnesota Vikings selected Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) Saturday in the fourth round of the National Football League Draft.
A two-time All-Big Ten selection, Hodges was the No. 120 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. Eight LinebackerU. standouts have been NFL Draft choices since 2006, all of whom are on current rosters.
Hodges becomes the 32nd Penn State football student-athlete to be drafted since 2006, including 15 in the first three rounds. All-Big Ten defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton) was selected by Seattle in Friday's third round. A total of 331 Nittany Lions have been selected all-time in the NFL Draft, including 36 in the first round.
Hodges is the seventh Nittany Lion selected all-time by Minnesota. Tight end Mickey Shuler was the last Penn State player selected by the Vikings, in 2010 (7th round).
A 2013 NFL Scouting Combine participant, Hodges earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2011 and second-team accolades in 2012. A starter in all 25 games the past two years, Hodges was No. 4 in the Big Ten with 109 tackles last year and became just the sixth Nittany Lion with multiple 100-tackle seasons. A semifinalist for the 2012 Butkus Award, Hodges was selected the 2012 New Jersey Division I College Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Southern New Jersey, as well as by the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club of South Jersey. Hodges was co-recipient of the Coaches Award at the Nittany Lions' team banquet.
Hodges played an instrumental role for a defense that ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 16 nationally in scoring defense at 19.1 ppg, holding six teams to 17 or fewer points. He led the Nittany Lions with seven pass breakups and was tied for second on the squad with two interceptions. The former Paulsboro High School standout also ranked third with 8.5 tackles for loss, while adding one sack and one forced fumble.
Hodges made a season-high 14 tackles vs. Ohio State last year, with a 10-yard sack. He tied his season-high with 14 hits at Nebraska, including 2.0 TFL and a pass break-up. Hodges was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for third time in his career after helping Penn State to 39-28 win over No. 24 Northwestern. He recorded 11 tackles, made 1.5 TFL, two pass break-ups and forced a fumble late in game to end any NU comeback hopes.
Hodges made 249 career tackles, recording 21.0 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks, with three interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
There were 30 former Nittany Lions with NFL teams at the end of the 2012 regular season, placing Penn State in the top 15 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.
Super Bowl XLVII marked the 42nd time in the Super Bowl's 47-game history that at least one Penn State alumnus was a member of one of the participating teams. All-Pro linebacker Navorro Bowman started for the San Francisco 49ers in the game and rookie linebacker Nate Stupar was a member of the 49ers' practice squad. Thirty-five former Nittany Lions have earned a total of 51 Super Bowl rings, most recently tackle Kareem McKenzie and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy with the Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants.