Eight years ago, KhaDarel Hodge went back home to D'Lo, Miss., after a stint at Hinds Community College wondering what was next for his football career. From battling through injuries to being undrafted in 2018, Hodge never gave up on himself or the calling for his life.
Now, five years in the NFL, the Falcons wide receiver is living out a lifelong dream he'd work his entire life for.
Story by Ashton Edmunds
KhaDarel Hodge felt things going downhill, during the fall of 2014.
The sentiment emerged after playing one season at Hinds Community College and the first time he had ever played wide receiver in all his years playing football.
"It didn't go as planned at all," Hodge said during an extended interview with atlantafalcons.com.
From battling thumb and hamstring injuries that season to barely seeing playing time, nothing seemed to be clicking.
"That was my first year playing receiver and I was nothing," Hodge said. "That was my first time having to be pressed, get off man coverage... I was lost out there. I barely played at all."
After his lone semester at Hinds, Hodge returned home, praying for an answer on what was next.
"I'm at home and I'm like, 'man, I might have made the wrong decision'," Hodge said. "I didn't really have no answers, so I just kind of leaned back on God and started talking to God about it. I just told him, 'send me a sign.'"
For Hodge, who grew up going to church frequently, prayer is what carried him through a time where things didn't look so clear cut, and the foundation of faith is why Hodge is now playing in his fifth-year in the NFL and first season with the Atlanta Falcons.
"It's kind of crazy how my story went," he said.