Second-year Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, who has been filling in for Ben Roethlisberger after the latter’s season-ending elbow injury, was benched against the Bengals in Week 12.
That left rookie third-stringer Devlin Hodges, who played earlier this season in place of an injured Rudolph, as Pittsburgh’s quarterback. Hodges led the team to victory over the Chargers in his only start, completing 15-of-20 passes for 132 yards, a touchdown and an interception for an 87.9 rating.
Don’t know about the Steelers’ next man up at the most important position? Here are a few fast facts about Hodges.
Devlin Hodges was signed as an undrafted free agent.
The Steelers added the Samford University product two weeks after the 2019 NFL Draft. He was waived during final cuts on Aug. 31 but was re-signed to the practice squad during Week 1.
He was promoted to the active roster when Roethlisberger landed on IR on Sept. 16.
Devlin Hodges was a four-year college star.
Hodges got attention from the NFL for his superstar career at the Alabama FCS school. He won the division’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — the Walter Payton Award — for his brilliant play in 2018.
During his final college season, Hodges posted 4,283 yards and 32 touchdown passes. Over four years, he also broke the late Steve McNair’s record at Alcorn State with 14,584 passing yards while at Samford.
Hodges completed more than 69 percent of his passes and was three times the Southern Conference offensive player of the year.
While at Samford, he earned the nickname “Duck” for his love of duck hunting and successful past as a youth duck caller.
Devlin Hodges’ high school produced another NFL backup QB.
Hodges went to Mortimer Jordan High School (Kimberly, Ala). One of the school’s proud football alums is Peter Tom Willis, the former Florida State quarterback who was drafted by the Bears in the third round in 2000.
Willis served as the No. 2 for a short stint behind current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh while in Chicago.
Devlin Hodges is the first QB from Samford in the NFL.
The Bulldogs have some good NFL representation currently with Panthers cornerback James Bradberry and 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt. Their best player ever in the league was 2006 seventh-round pick Cortland Finnegan, a one-time first-team All-Pro at cornerback.
Devlin Hodges is the eighth NFL QB who was born in Alabama.
Hodges is the 201st player overall originally from the Yellowhammer State to play in the NFL. He is third Alabaman starting for a team in 2019, joining the Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston (Bessemer) and the Chargers’ Phiiip Rivers (Decatur).
The Crimson Tide have produced three of the others — AJ McCarron, John Parker Wilson and Brodie Croyle. Rounding out the list are Tarvaris Jackson (Montgomery) and JaMarcus Russell (Mobile), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Devlin Hodges is the second Steelers starting QB to wear No. 6.
The last Steeler to wear that number was punter Matt Wile in the preseason of 2018, and most notably of late, it belonged to kicker Shaun Suisham.
But the most prominent Pittsburgh player to wear No. 6 was Bubby Brister, who primarily started between 1988 and ’90, before the team turned more to Neil O’Donnell. Brister went 28-29 as the Steelers’ quarterback.
Devlin Hodges makes up for his limited size with good accuracy and a quick release.
Roethlisberger and Rudolph are more classic height (6-5) and weight (235/240 pounds) quarterbacks. Hodges stands at 6-1, 210 pounds. He is a good athlete who uses his feet well to push the ball downfield. He rushed for 1,017 yards over four years as a Bulldog.
The Steelers will hope Hodges is up to the task of distributing the ball all over the field in what figures to remain a run-heavy offense.