The countdown to Super Bowl Sunday has begun and one Mississippi native to pay attention to is an Eagles defensive lineman who played in Yazoo City and has been coming back home in the off-season to stay in football shape.
And meet Deon Hodges, the man who trains him.
For the past five years, some of the top athletes from around the state and the nation have been coming to train at D1 Sports Training in Madison and Hodges has been the driving force behind those athletes.
"I think one of the biggest attractions here for us at D1 is the environment that we try and create -- that everyone that comes through the door is an athlete," explained Hodges. "One of the most special things is just seeing the athlete transition. If they come in at a younger age and they transition through middle school, high school, the same guys come back, the same girls come back for you when they make it to college and then hopefully at the end of the day, they transition to the professional setting, which is always refreshing to see."
One big name player who’s been Hodges' star pupil is former Mississippi State Bulldog and current Philadelphia Eagle, Fletcher Cox.
Hodges has trained Fletcher since 2013 and recently went to Philly to witness him win the NFC championship.
"It’s a give and take, but for the most part, when we’re in this type of environment it’s definitely work," said Hodges. "Now we do spend some time outside of work to build a rapport outside of the facility, which is always good. I think we have a pretty solid relationship. When I saw him up in Philly, and got a chance to see how everyone else reacts to him and kind of how I treat him bad, you know I just view it as, you know people really look up to this guy, but at the same time he’s just another athlete when he’s in this facility."
Hodges has plans to support his player and friend this Sunday in Minnesota as the Eagles take on the New England Patriots. Our coverage will begin at 5:30 pm on WLBT.
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