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Julius Hodge: Still Helping Raleigh

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This off-season, one of NC State’s all-time greats has come back to Raleigh to give back to the town that helped make him a star.

Julius Hodge spent four years at State helping put the basketball program back on the map ,using not only his talent on the floor, but his quick wit with the media and his heart for the city. Today, after spending five years playing in the NBA and overseas, Hodge is back in Raleigh and using his skill, wit, and heart all over again to help out his school and his city.

This past week Julius held his first annual basketball camp here in Raleigh. Camp24Hodge was a week long skills camp for ages 6-14 where twenty kids learned not only how to win on the court, but off-the-court as well. “It’s not just about teaching them basketball skills.” said Hodge “It’s about showing them how to succeed in life. If you have good manners,  you’re a good person, you always have a smile on your face, you try to do the right thing and you’re hard working then you can pretty much reach and achieve all of the goals you have in life. Pretty much I’m teaching them that through basketball.” The camp took place at Grand Slam USA, only a mile from the arena where Hodge starred for the Wolfpack. Over the week kids from all over the area came to participate, compete and learn from one of the hardest working players out there today.

After four very productive years at NC State Julius was drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 20th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. He spent 2 years between the Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks before heading overseas to play in Europe and finally finding a home in Australia with the 36ers. Although Hodge found a great deal of success in Australia, NC State fans had not heard much from their one time fan favorite. That was until this past February when Hodge finally made his way back to Raleigh. “I had been working so hard to reach my goal of playing in the NBA and I’ve been really doing what everyone else wanted me to do in a way.” Hodge explained. “Then one day my wife just said ‘What do you want to do? You do what you want to do.’ I love Raleigh and this is where I wanted to be. I love Harlem but I wanted to come back here and have my camp, and start up some foundations that give back to the community.”

The Jules from Harlem arrived back in Raleigh and immediately picked up where he left off. He connected back with NC State fans through interviews, facebook and the new means of media he’s seemingly become famous for, Twitter.Hodge has become Raleigh’s version of Ocho Cinco in the world of social media. His nearly 1,500 followers can keep track of his daily antics as he updates them with witty one-liners and funny happenings throughout his day. Hodge has used these networks, not only to entertain, but to market two things that are very important to him. His basketball camp and his project “African Education Initiative” where he’s teamed up with Russell Simmons to help bring sustainable energy to the Tonga people in the Congo. He even has an event coming up in the Hamptons on July 3rd to help promote his cause which actually will be covered and aired on the Oxygen Network in coming weeks.

From basketball camps, to his work with the less fortunate, Julius Hodge continues to put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces, and continues to give back to the city and people that gave so much to him.

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Pack in the Pros

Former NC State Punter AJ Cole Added to AFC Pro Bowl Roster

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Former NC State Punter AJ Cole has been named to the Pro Bowl for the 2nd consecutive year. He was added to the roster because Chiefs Punter Tommy Townsend is headed to the Super Bowl.

Cole is one of three former Wolfpack football players to be named to the Pro Bowl in 2022, joining Joe Thuney and Bradley Chubb.

Cole ranked 4th in the NFL (and the AFC) in yards per punt in 2022, averaging 48.9 yards per punt.

This marks the 2nd time that Cole has made the Pro Bowl. Cole is 1 of 15 former NC State players to make the Pro Bowl, and 1 of 13 to earn the honor more than once.

QB Russell Wilson – 9 (2012, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15, ‘17, ‘18, ‘19, ‘20, ‘21)
QB Philip Rivers – 8 (2006, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘13, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18)
WR Torry Holt – 7 (2000, ‘01 ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘07, ‘08)
S Adrian Wilson – 5 (2006, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11)
WR Mike Quick – 5 (1984, ‘85, ‘86, ‘87, ‘88)
DE Mario Williams – 4 (2008, ‘09, ‘13, ‘14)
LB Vaughan Johnson – 4 (1990, ‘91, ‘92, ‘93)
QB Roman Gabriel – 3 (1967, ‘68, ‘69)
WR Haywood Jeffires – 3 (1992, ‘93, ‘94)
OG Darrell Dess – 2 (1962, ‘63)
FB Alex Webster – 2 (1958, ’61)
LB Bradley Chubb – 2 (2020, ’22)
P AJ Cole III – 2 (2021, ’22)
OG Joe Thuney – 1 (2022)
C Jim Ritcher – 1 (1992)

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Former NC State All-American Bradley Chubb Added to Pro Bowl

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Former NC State All-American Bradley Chubb has been added to the AFC Pro Bowl roster to replace an injured Khalil Mack. Chubb is one of three former Wolfpack football players to be named to the Pro Bowl in 2022, joining Joe Thuney and AJ Cole.

Chubb finished the season with 39 tackles, 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 5 tackles for loss and 20 QB Hits, playing 8 games with the Broncos and 8 games with the Dolphins in 2022.

This marks the 2nd time that Chubb has made the Pro Bowl. Chubb is 1 of 15 former NC State players to make the Pro Bowl, and 1 of 13 to earn the honor more than once.

QB Russell Wilson – 9 (2012, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15, ‘17, ‘18, ‘19, ‘20, ‘21)
QB Philip Rivers – 8 (2006, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘13, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18)
WR Torry Holt – 7 (2000, ‘01 ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘07, ‘08)
S Adrian Wilson – 5 (2006, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11)
WR Mike Quick – 5 (1984, ‘85, ‘86, ‘87, ‘88)
DE Mario Williams – 4 (2008, ‘09, ‘13, ‘14)
LB Vaughan Johnson – 4 (1990, ‘91, ‘92, ‘93)
QB Roman Gabriel – 3 (1967, ‘68, ‘69)
WR Haywood Jeffires – 3 (1992, ‘93, ‘94)
OG Darrell Dess – 2 (1962, ‘63)
FB Alex Webster – 2 (1958, ’61)
LB Bradley Chubb – 2 (2020, ’22)
P AJ Cole III – 2 (2021, ’22)
OG Joe Thuney – 1 (2022)
C Jim Ritcher – 1 (1992)

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Former NC State WR Jakobi Meyers is Positioned for a Big Pay Day this Offseason

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Former NC State Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers has set himself up well to get a big pay day this offseason.

Meyers led the Patriots in receiving yards (804) and touchdown receptions (6) in 2022, and ranked 2nd on the team in receptions (67) behind Running Back Rhamondre Stevenson (69). In 2021, he led New England in receptions (83) and receiving yards (866). In 2020, Meyers did the same thing with 59 receptions for 729 yards.

This year, Meyers was given the Ed Block Courage Award by the Pats as the player on the roster that most exemplified courage, sportsmanship, professionalism and dedication.

Pats head coach Bill Belichick had this to say about Meyers:

“Well he’s a tough kid, mentally, physically,” Bill Belichick said of Meyers on January 6. “He’s shown a lot of leadership and competitiveness like he always does. So, yeah, I’m glad we have him. Glad he’s out there. I know he’s had to fight through some things, so have a lot of other guys. But he’s done a good job of that.” (link)

If it were up to Meyers, he’d like to resign with New England.

Meyers has been one of the best homegrown receivers in Patriots history. His 2,758 receiving yards is the 2nd most by a player in their first 4 years in the league in New England, trailing only the legendary Tight End Rob Gronkowski.

Consider the fact that Meyers signed with the Pats as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and that stat becomes much more impressive.

Through 4 seasons, already ranks in the Top-10 in NC State history in both receptions (9th) and receiving yards (8th).

Meyers was paid $3.986 million this season on a 1-year deal, but he could be looking to make something more in line with $18 million annually, which is the deal that Christian Kirk signed with the Jags this past offseason.

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PackPros: Recapping NFL Wild Card Weekend

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The Wild Card round of the 2023 NFL Playoffs was last weekend, and — former NC State football players were represented.

Linebacker Germaine Pratt had 8 tackles and 1 pass breakup in the Bengals 24-17 victory over the Ravens. His teammate, Defensive Tackle B.J. Hill had 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB Hit.

Pratt was a big part of causing Baltimore Quarterback Tyler Huntley to fumble it on the goal line, that led to a 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Cincy’s Sam Hubbard.

Linebacker Bradley Chubb had 1 sack in the Dolphins 31-34 loss to the Bills.

Running Back Nyheim Hines returned 2 kickoffs for an average of 28 yards, and returned 3 punts for an average of 5.7 yards in the Bills’ 34-31 victory over the Dolphins. He also had 1 reception for 7 yards.

Cornerback Nick McCloud had 2 tackles in the Giants 31-23 win over the Giants.

 

Defensive Tackle T.Y. McGill didn’t record any stats in the 49ers 41-23 win over the Seahawks, but he did play in 19 snaps.

Center Garrett Bradbury returned from injury, and played 100% of the snaps in Minnesota’s 24-31 loss to New York.

 

 

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