Entering the 2017 season, Pitt has some big holes to fill on the offensive line.
Pat Narduzzi is looking to replace three players who will be on NFL rosters this coming season in Adam Bisnowaty, Dorian Johnson and Scott Orndoff.
The Panthers have talented players such as Brian O’Neil, Alex Bookser and Jaryd Jones-Smith returning but their backups lack experience. Today, they addressed that issue with the addition of graduate transfer Brandon Hodges.
The fifth-year senior and former Texas Longhorn right tackle announced today that he’ll play his final season of college football for Pat Narduzzi and Pitt.
Following his decision, PSN talked with Hodges about his decision and what eventually led him to decide on Pitt.
“They have great people here and great coaches. It’s a great atmosphere and a place I wanted to finish up my last year and hopefully make it to the next level,” said Hodges.
With some uncertainty on the depth chart, the chance to play also figured into his decision.
“There’s a possibility for me to play but I just have to see where I fit in and how I can help the team out.”
The final factor and the one that played a big role in Hodges joining the Panthers was his former offensive boss at Texas and now new offensive coordinator at Pitt Shawn Watson.
“I actually reached out to Coach Watson who coached me down at Texas. He was a great coach who always have me good advice whenever I needed help on and off the field. My relationship with him meant a lot and he’s someone I trusted and that made my decision pretty easy,” said Hodges.
Shawn Watson isn’t the only Pitt coach that’s impressed Hodges.
“Coach Narduzzi is a guy with a lot of energy. You can just tell he’s a players coach and someone who’s easy to get along with. I can also tell that he’s someone that will be on you the whole time but at the same time he’ll be for you and will support you whether you’re doing good or bad. He just wants to get the best out of you.”
As far as which position he’ll start out at, Hodges says he’ll be moved around and is fine with that because he wants to show off his versatility. He believes he’s capable of playing right tackle, right guard, left tackle and “can even snap it if I have to.”
Pitt will start practice next week and Hodges tells PSN that he plans on arriving in Pittsburgh on Friday.