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The San Francisco 49ers went shopping on Tuesday and came home with a third-year linebacker to bolster their defensive front seven.
The team announced in the early afternoon that it acquired Gerald Hodges from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for center Nick Easton and an undisclosed draft pick.
We'll learn more in the coming days about how the coaching staff envisions Hodges fitting in with the San Francisco defense. For now, however, here are some quick facts to break the ice.
- He was named a "secret superstar" in the preseason
After Anthony Barr went down with a knee injury, Hodges started the final four games of the 2014 season in his place at outside linebacker. In the first of those games, Hodges returned an interception of New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith 27 yards for a touchdown. Then, in the season finale versus the Chicago Bears, Hodges recorded 11 tackles and a half sack.
This performance prompted Pro Football Focus to name Hodges their "secret superstar" for Minnesota's 2015 campaign.
2. He started Week 1 against the 49ers
Hodges made the switch from outside linebacker to inside linebacker this offseason and won a starting job in training camp. He opened the season playing against his new team, recording eight tackles in the Vikings 20-3 loss to the 49ers.
In four games overall this year, Hodges has 20 tackles. Minnesota runs a 4-3 defense, so he'll have to adjust to playing in San Francisco 3-4 base defense.
- He starred as a quarterback in high school
Hodges played on offense, defense and special teams at Paulsboro High School in New Jersey. As a quarterback, Hodges threw for 695 yards and ran for 705 more yards his senior year. That same season, he added 61 tackles and an interception as a safety.
Hodges was also a captain on the wrestling and track and field teams. He posted a 40-1 record as a wrestler his junior year.
4. He played with Bowman at Penn State
As a true freshman at Penn State in 2009, Hodges saw action in every game on defense and special teams. He played behind two guys who are fixtures in the NFL, Sean Lee of the Dallas Cowboys and, of course, NaVorro Bowman.
"I learned so much from NaVorro and Sean, seeing how they approached football, and studying film," Hodges wrote in an article for CBS Philadelphia. "You couldn't help but to follow in their footsteps. After the way they laid the pavement, you'd be dumb not to."
Hodges ended his collegiate career in 2012 by totaling 109 tackles for the Nittany Lions. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Vikings.
- He is a student of the game
When Hodges entered the NFL, he thought his talent alone would allow him to flourish. But as the linebacker soon found out, he needed to put in more work in the classroom to succeed.
"One of the keys for me is continually studying film and learning as much as you can about each team you face and each quarterback you're facing," Hodges recently told Scout. "We're facing a lot of very good quarterbacks all year. When I came to the Vikings, I wasn't a student of the game. I had to learn that."
Apparently, Hodges is also a good addition to the locker room.
"He's crazy, but he's a great guy, man," Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "If you come in and you're having a bad day, Hodges, he'll bring your day up."