St. Rose (NJ) three-star forward Matthew Hodge has been active with visits over the last few weeks, beginning with a trip to Xavier (Aug. 27), then Penn State (Aug. 31) followed by Marquette (Sept. 8). The 6-foot-8 forward then made his way to Maryland for his official visit over the weekend where he and his dad got an in-depth look at a program they were already plenty familiar with.
“On Friday we went around the facility, talked about the new project they have with the practice facility. It’s cool to see it’s starting to get built now, then we went to the football game,” Hodge told IBG.
Hodge was with the bulk of the team at Friday’s game, but it was freshman center Braden Pierce who Hodge spent the most time with. “He was the lead guy with me during the visit and he did a pretty good job of showing me around,” Hodge added. “I’ve already made a couple of friends over there so it was pretty good.”
Hodge made his way to College Park last season for the Purdue game, while the staff held a Zoom visit with the priority target over the summer to further familiarize him with how he fits into the 2024-25 roster. For Hodge, spending ample time with Pierce during his visit gave Hodge a different perspective on Willard’s system and program.
“The guys, where they see me coming in. Donta [Scott] is a perfect example, fifth-year senior so talking to him about how coach [Kevin] Willard plays him was good and kind of gave me a feeling of a situation how I’d play in Willard’s system.”
That message extended to the coaching staff as they spent time on Saturday diving into the film after meeting with academic advisors.
“They were just very clear what they expect from me, that they were really interested in me and I could come in and compete right away as a freshman, which is a big thing in my recruitment right now too,” Hodge added. “I want to obviously work and develop but also come in and have a chance to come in and compete with the team. Donta is a fifth-year senior, so I could be a good replacement for him.”
Along with getting a good feel for the student atmosphere both on campus and at the football game, Hodge also made his way to DC on Saturday. “We had a good dinner there. We saw some of the famous buildings, first time seeing the White House so that was pretty cool.”
Maryland entered the weekend as a primary factor in Hodge’s recruitment, initially due to Mike Jones’ relationship with Odell Hodge while the continued pursuit through the summer kept them in the conversation. After the weekend, Maryland has cemented itself as a contender as the frontcourt target evaluates his next steps.
“I knew that I was a priority and I felt like they really wanted me and after that visit, it only got more clear hearing it from the whole staff because I have a good relationship with coach [Mike] Jones,” Hodge said. “And then being able to hang around the whole staff for two days was huge. I got to hear everyone’s opinion about me and what they see in me, what they expect of me. The fact that I felt the whole staff was big on me meant a lot.”
Hodge was slated to officially visit Virginia next, but now, that’s up in the air.
“It’s up for debate. I feel like with the visits I’ve already taken now, it’s a little tricky now. The chance of another visit is less now.”
After checking out Marquette, Maryland, Penn State and Xavier, Hodge will look to separate his top schools.
“It helped a lot with what I’m looking for because I’ve seen two Big East and now I’ve seen two Big Ten schools so I can see where I can fit in best, what system I can fit in best, what coach, what players I like the most.”
Hodge is rated a three-star prospect and an 89 overall by On3, sitting as the fourth-best player in New Jersey.