Three-time All-Big Ten linebacker and Hawkeye team captain Abdul Hodge joined the University of Iowa coaching staff in March, 2022. Hodge coaches the tight end and fullback positions. Hodge joined the Hawkeye coaching staff after coaching at the University of South Dakota the previous three seasons.
Hodge coached outside linebackers and was the staff NFL liaison at South Dakota.
In 2023, the Hawkeyes won 10 games, including their final four, to capture the Big Ten West Division for the second time in three years. Iowa advanced to another January bowl game (Citrus Bowl) and finished the season ranked No. 24. A number of tight ends saw action in 2023 due to season-ending injuries to two of Iowa’s top offensive weapons, Luke Lachey and Erick All. Hodge worked with Addison Ostrenga, Steven Stilianos, Johnny Pascuzzi and Zach Ortwerth for most of the season.
In his first season on the Iowa staff, Iowa won eight contests in 2022, concluding the season with a 21-0 win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl and wins in five of its final six games. Hodge coached Sam LaPorta, who led the Hawkeyes in receiving with 58 receptions for 657 yards. LaPorta was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award and was named the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year. LaPorta completed his career with 153 receptions for 1,786 yards. He ranks first all-time among Iowa tight ends in receptions and second in receiving yards.
LaPorta was selected by Detroit in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the 34th overall selection. In addition, fullback Monte Pottebaum signed a free agent contract with Pittsburgh immediately following the draft.
Hodge, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Boyd Anderson High School), lettered for the Hawkeyes from 2002-05. He was a key player for the Hawkeyes in one of the most successful periods in school history, helping Iowa post a four-year mark of 38-12.
Hodge led the Big Ten and ranked third in the country in tackles per game (13.2) and solo tackles per game (8.2) in 2005. Hodge ranks third in career tackles at Iowa (453) and is one of three Hawkeyes to lead the team in tackles three consecutive years (2003-05). His 158 tackles in 2005 rank second best at Iowa for a single season and his 141 tackles in 2003 ranks sixth.
Hodge earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2003 and 2004 and second team recognition in 2005. He served as a team captain as a senior and shared Most Valuable Player honors following the season. He also earned the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award and the Iron Hawk Award.
Hodge was a quarterfinalist for the 2005 Lott Trophy and earned All-America accolades as a junior and senior. He was selected to participate in the Senior Bowl following his final season and was later selected in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Hodge played for Green Bay, Cincinnati and Carolina during his NFL career that concluded with the 2010 season.
Following his career in the NFL, Hodge founded Professional Interactive Solutions in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a company that helps businesses grow their online presence. In addition to running the business, Hodge served as an assistant coach for several high schools in Sarasota, Florida, from 2013-16. He was a coaching intern for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans before joining the South Dakota staff.
Hodge’s first year coaching at South Dakota was highlighted by a three-game win streak in the first half of the season in which the Coyotes held their three foes to a combined 745 yards and 16 points. It marked the first time since 2008 that USD held three consecutive foes to 16 points or fewer. USD went on to knock off fifth-ranked South Dakota State on Senior Day inside the DakotaDome when the Coyotes stopped three fourth-quarter drives to preserve a 24-21 victory.
Year two was unique at South Dakota in that it was reduced to four games due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was conducted in the spring of 2021. Rush linebacker Jacob Matthew led the team in sacks and tackles-for-loss for the second year in a row and was rewarded with honorable mention All-MVFC honors. South Dakota forced nine turnovers and produced seven sacks in four games, highlighted by a 27-20 upset at No. 7 Illinois State in the season opener. Two of the team’s four games were against FCS Top 10 teams.
South Dakota posted an 7-5 record in 2021, including a 5-3 conference mark. That record included wins over No. 13 North Dakota, No. 16 Northern Iowa, and No. 7 South Dakota State. South Dakota qualified for the FCS playoffs for the second time in program history, hosting a playoff game for the first time.
At South Dakota, Hodge was the first defensive assistant hired by defensive coordinator Travis Johansen prior to the 2019 season. Prior to the 2020 season former Hawkeye Miles Taylor joined Hodge on the defensive staff as defensive pass game coordinator and defensive backs coach. Prior to the 2021 season former Hawkeye Corey Brown was named USD’s defensive line coach.
Hodge earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Iowa in 2005.
Hodge and his wife, Chabli, have two children, a daughter, Amari, and a son, Abdul Jr.
Hodge’s Coaching Career
Team – Position, Years
Iowa – Tight Ends, 2022-present
South Dakota – Linebackers, NFL liaison, 2019-21
Tennessee Titans – Intern, 2018
GAIN Sports – head coach, 2013-16
Boyd Anderson HS – Ast. HC, DC, 2014-15
Northeast HS – LB, ST, 2013-14