Junior Anthony Fera was selected the second-team All-Big Ten punter and third team placekicker by Lindy's. Senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton) and tailback Silas Redd (Norwalk, Conn.) also were second-team all-conference picks. Senior wide receiver Justin Brown (Wilmington, Del.) and senior linebacker Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) were third-team pre-season All-Big Ten choices by Lindy's.
Hodges burst onto the collegiate football scene last year, earning first team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and ESPN.com. A probable candidate for the Butkus Award and other post-season accolades, Hodges will be a leader for a front seven that returns four starters, in addition to previous starters defensive end Pete Massaro (Newtown Square) and linebacker Mauti, who are returning from injuries.
Hodges was instrumental in Penn State having the nation's No. 5 scoring defense in 2011 and became the 22nd Nittany Lion to post at least 100 tackles in a season. He led the team with 106 tackles (60 solo), ranking in the top 15 in the Big Ten in hits (eighth) and sacks (tied-14th with 4.5). Hodges also recorded 10.0 tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, broke-up four passes and made one critical interception and lengthy return in a win at Northwestern.
The former Paulsboro High School All-South Jersey standout was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in consecutive weeks in late October last year, becoming the first Nittany Lion to earn back-to-back conference accolades since linebacker Navorro Bowman in 2009. Hodges earned his second straight honor after recording a career-high 19 tackles, with an eight-yard sack and a fumble recovery, in the dramatic 10-7 win over Illinois.
Selected the Touchdown Club of Southern Jersey's 2011 Division I College Player of the Year, Hodges logged 832 plays during his junior season, the highest total among defensive returnees and No. 2 overall to center Matt Stankiewitch.
Coach Bill O'Brien's squad returns 35 letter winners and nine starters for the upcoming season, as well as 16 players that have starting experience. The 16 additional players with starting experience have a combined total of 77 among them.
Season tickets are available for the 2012 season, with the Nittany Lions hosting five teams that played in a bowl game last year, starting with Ohio on Sept. 1 (12 p.m.). Penn State also will host Ohio State (Oct. 27), Wisconsin (Nov. 24-Senior Day), Northwestern (Oct. 6-Homecoming), Indiana (Nov. 17), Navy (Sept. 15-Military Appreciation Day) and Temple (Sept. 22-All-University Day) in Beaver Stadium this fall.
Source: PSU Athletics