Wake's depth hurt as Hodges quits team

Updated: March 2, 2009, 3:05 PM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

Wake Forest backup quarterback Brett Hodges has quit the team to concentrate on internships and education, leaving the Demon Deacons without an experienced backup heading into spring practice.

Hodges played in just two games last year and threw the ball twice, but he had more experience than any of the other quarterbacks on the roster behind starter Riley Skinner.

"It definitely wasn't easy," Hodges said of his decision. "I talked with my parents fairly often, back and forth, as to what's the best decision to do. ... I just thought it was better for me to concentrate more on my schoolwork and get those grades needed to accomplish the goals that I wanted to have. The goals were to get into a grad school, to get a good internship and start my future in this economy that's going to be very tough to get a job in."

In 2007, Hodges started two games when Skinner suffered a separated shoulder in the season opener. He came in and relieved the injured Skinner against Boston College and completed 17 of 23 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. He also started against Nebraska that year and completed 12 of 24 passes for 140 yards and two interceptions.

"It was a big shock when Brett told me he wasn't going to play anymore," said Skinner, who enters this spring as the most accurate passer in ACC history. "We became real good friends, rooming together before games. He would help me whenever I came off the field, I'd talk to him about things he saw and stuff like that. It's definitely going to be weird not having him around on the field. It was a big shock to a lot of us."

Hodges, who would have been a redshirt senior, will graduate in May and spend the summer at an internship for Symantec, a company that makes Internet security software. Hodges said it was a tough decision that was difficult for his teammates and coach Jim Grobe to hear.

"I brought it to coach Grobe first and wanted to run it by him, to see if it was all right," Hodges said. "He was very understanding. Of course, he was a little upset, too. They wanted what's best for me and to help me out any way they could. ... He wanted me to stay and he wanted to make sure the decision I was making was not an impulse decision, something that happened overnight. I explained to him it wasn't. He just wanted to make sure my decision and the plan I have is something I'm not going to regret five, 10, 20 years from now."

Hodges was the first quarterback Grobe's staff recruited in that class. Skinner was contemplating his future at FBS member Samford until he was noticed by the Wake Forest staff, who had been visiting Skinner's high school to recruit current starting Wake defensive tackle John Russell.

Skinner said it's going to be a "very competitive spring." One player who will definitely be in the mix will be redshirt sophomore Skylar Jones, who was clocked at 4.43 in the 40-yard dash and was the fastest quarterback on the roster. Another option is Ted Stachitas, a redshirt freshman from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

"That's going to be pretty interesting," Skinner said. "Most of the guys have been playing on the scout team for the past few years and don't have any real experience. We've got to get them some reps under their belts very quickly."

College football blogger Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.