Former Beaver receivers weigh in on Isaiah Hodgins
The Portland Tribune asked some of the great receivers in Oregon State history to offer observations on the skills of Beavers junior Isaiah Hodgins. Their credentials and comments:
James Rodgers (2007-11)
On OSU receiving lists: second in season receptions (91), third in career receptions (222), tied for fourth in career touchdowns (18), sixth in career yardage (2,578)
Pro career: Two years on the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad; one season with Montreal of the Canadian Football League
Current job: Director of player development, Oregon State football
Rodgers on Hodgins: "I know Isaiah well. I met him when I was working at Nebraska, and I was one of the hosts on his recruiting visit. He's a good kid. He's always willing to talk, and asks a lot of questions. He's a good listener. We had a good talk last summer. I told him some of the things I felt like he lacked as a player. He has taken everything I told him and changed the way he has approached things. He took the advice and ran with it. The biggest thing was about being a leader, and he has done a great job of bringing the younger guys along with him this season.
"'I've seen a lot of the great receivers in Oregon State history, and no question, you have to put Isaiah up there. His route-running is good, he has good hands and he's a reliable guy. There are a lot of balls thrown his way, and most of them are caught. That tells you something."
Steve Coury (1976-79)
On OSU receiving lists: 13th in career receptions (135), 14th in career yardage (1,837). Ranked second nationally in receptions (66) as a senior
Pro career: One year with Ottawa of the CFL
Residence: Lake Oswego
Current job: Head coach, Lake Oswego High, area sales representative for FieldTurf
Coury on Hodgins: "I've watched Isaiah play a lot. He is really good. He's a smooth route-runner. He catches the ball in traffic. He makes guys miss after the catch. He goes up with his big frame to make tough catches. He's a prototype big NFL receiver. The only question is his speed, but he's a do-it-all guy for us.
"He's right in there with the greatest receivers we've had. The comparison you'd make to a Brandin Cooks or Mike Hass or Markus Wheaton or James Rodgers — like all of them, Isaiah makes all the big plays. That's really impressive. You gotta know the defensive guys are saying, 'This is one guy we have to be aware of every play,' and they still can't stop him. When it's clutch time, he's the guy you're going to look for. It's been really fun to watch him progress as a player through his career."
Sammie Stroughter (2004-08)
On OSU receiving lists: fifth in season yardage (1,293), fifth in career yardage (2,623), seventh in career receptions (164)
Pro career: Four years with the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Residence: Sacramento, California
Current job: Head coach, Rio Americano High. Also, counselor and campus monitor at the school
Stroughter on Hodgins: "We've met and I've seen him play four or five times in person. I love the way he plays. He reminds me of Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers. He's so smooth. He's a professional. His dad (James Hodgins) had time in the league, and Isaiah has benefited from his dad's experience. He understands what he has to do, mind, body and soul, to make sure when the time is go, he's ready to go.
"There's no question he has NFL potential. He's up there with the best Oregon State has had in terms of size, speech and his understanding of the game of football."
Victor Bolden (2013-16)
On OSU receiving lists: Sixth in career receptions (170), 10th in career yardage (1,863)
Pro career: Two seasons with San Francisco and Buffalo in NFL (2017-18)
Residence: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Current job: Free agent, waiting for a call from an NFL team
Bolden on Hodgins: "I met him a couple of times when I was doing an internship on my way out of campus when he was being recruited. Great guy. He's great with his pursuit of the ball at the point of attack, jumping to get it, contesting a defender. He's a great red-zone receiver. He is excellent at running routes and creating separation. I can't imagine there are many better receivers in college ball than him."
James Newson (2000-03)
On OSU receiving lists: Second in touchdowns in season (12), fourth in receiving yardage in season (1,306), second in career receiving yardage (3,572) tied for second in career touchdowns (20), fifth in career receptions (213)
Pro career: One year with Cologne in NFL Europe, three years in Arena League
Residence: Stockton, California
Current job: Auto wash business, personal trainer
Newson on Hodgins: "I've seen him play a few games on TV. I really like watching him play. He's a very talented receiver. He's a big target. He does a great job of catching balls with his hands. He likes to go up for the jump ball. He's determined to score. I was in Corvallis to watch a practice when he was a freshman and I left thinking, 'Ok, yeah, he's going to be the next one.' I like his demeanor — very calm.
"He has everything the NFL is looking for — speed, height, the way he catches the ball, and he's a good blocker. It's obvious he has been putting in some overtime hours honing his craft."
Mike Hass (2002-05)
Awards: Biletnikoff Trophy for nation's outstanding receiver in 2005
On OSU receiving lists: First in career receiving yardage (3,924), fourth in career receptions (220), tied for second career touchdowns (20), second and third in season yardage (1,532 and 1,379), fourth and fifth in season receptions (90 and 86)
Pro career: Spent time with New Orleans, Chicago and Seattle in the NFL but never played in a regular-season game
Current job: Develops cleated footwear for Nike
Hass on Hodgins: "I've watched a good amount of his games. He's the best player the Beavers have on the team this year. He runs good routes. He competes for the ball. He has good hands. I like him in the red zone. He's a guy you can throw it up to in there. I would love to have had his size. I get a vote for the Biletnikoff (Award). I made sure to vote for him this year. Hopefully, he sticks around Oregon State for another year and I get to watch him next year."
Robb Thomas (1985-88)
On OSU receiving lists: Ninth in career receiving yardage (2,043), 12th in career receptions (138)
Pro career: 10 years in NFL with Kansas City, Seattle and Tampa Bay
Current job: mortgage broker, receivers coach for Summit High
Thomas on Hodgins: "I've seen every game this season. Isaiah is an awesome receiver. Great body. Runs good routes. He knows what he's doing in the field, and he has the confidence that no matter who's lined up across from him, he's going to beat him. He feels like he can get open against anybody. A really important trait to have is believing in yourself, because a lot of times, it comes down to one-on-one, you against the other guy. He comes down with everything. You put the ball up there, he has a great ability to move his body and hands to grab a ball. He's so productive.
"It's so hard to know how a guy's game will translate to the NFL, but he seems like a guy willing to work hard. A lot of times, that makes a difference. He has the physical skills to do it and, it seems, like the mental and emotional capacity."
Markus Wheaton (2009-12)
On OSU receiving lists: First in career receptions (227), fourth in career yardage (2,994), eight in career touchdowns (18), tied for second in season receptions (91), seventh in season yardage (1,244), third in season touchdowns (11)
Pro career: Six years with Pittsburgh, Chicago and Philadelphia
Residence: Chandler, Arizona
Current job: Owns real estate, apartments and mobile home parks in Phoenix area
Wheaton on Hodgins: "I've watched him a couple of times on TV this season. He's a savvy route-runner who knows how to win — that's what I think. His hands are exceptional. With the combination of the two, you get the numbers that he's putting up. My feeling is that Brandin Cooks is the greatest receiver to come through Oregon State, but what Isaiah is doing right now is special nonetheless."
(Editor's note: Brandin Cooks did not return calls asking for comment)
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