It’s always interesting to see football stars who also shine in other competitions, such as Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders in baseball, Charlie Ward and Antonio Gates in basketball, Jim Thorpe in baseball and track and field, and Lionel Conacher in hockey, lacrosse and boxing. Well, Samford Bulldogs’ quarterback Devlin Hodges (seen above against Georgia last fall) has perhaps even a more unique second competitive career: duck-calling. As per Chris Vannini of The Athletic, Hodges could perhaps break Steve McNair’s FCS yardage records this fall, and if all goes well, he’ll also be heading to the world duck-calling championships. And while Hodges was a world champion at the junior level, winning in 2009 when he was 13, he gave up the duck calls when he enrolled at Samford, so this latest appearance came from him getting back into duck-calling on short notice:
He grabbed his duck call — a rubber and plastic whistle-like tool a few inches long — and recorded a quick video of him doing his old performance call. He sent it to a friend and asked, should I enter the contest? Though he’d stopped competing, he still hunted every winter with his father and brother. But a hunting call is a lot different than a competition call.
No matter. Two days later, Hodges entered and won the state championship, qualifying him for the world championships this fall in Arkansas.
“I practiced a little Friday, went Saturday and was fortunate to be the best duck caller there.”
A challenge for Hodges is that the worlds are in Stuttgart, Arkansas on Nov. 24, though, and Samford may well be in the first round of the FCS playoffs at that point. The Bulldogs’ season has ended at that hurdle the past two years. But they could wind up with a bye if they win the Southern Conference, and Hodges certainly gives them some hope there; he’s been named the conference’s offensive player of the year the past two seasons, and with 10,301 career passing yards, he’s on track to pass McNair’s record of 14,496. And Hodges is also a prolific rusher, collecting 704 yards there (on 280 attempts) to date; McNair’s record of 16,823 total yards of offense (with 2,327 rushing yards) is going to be tougher to break, but there’s a chance Hodges could get there as well. But he’ll really need to play well to get Samford that bye and get to follow up on his 2009 junior duck-calling title:
Regardless of if he gets to go to these championships or not, it’s pretty impressive to see what Hodges can do in two very, very different fields.
Correction: this piece originally had the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany this fall. They’re in Stuttgart, Arkansas.