LSU Football Flashback: Quarterback Tommy Hodson
Growing up in Lockport, Louisiana, Tommy Hodson had aspirations of playing basketball. As a two-sport star at Central LaFourche high school, he received basketball scholarship offers from several Ivy league colleges, as well as Louisiana (then called USL), Stanford, Louisiana Tech, Nicholls State and Northwestern State.
Playing point guard, the 6’3, 160 pound high schooler (he would play at 195 pounds at LSU and in the NFL) averaged nearly 28 points a game. He excelled on the football field as well, passing for 4,361 yards and 36 touchdowns. Hodson decided to accept a football scholarship from LSU.
After redshirting his freshmen year due to elbow surgery, Hodson started the next 4 seasons for LSU (1986–1989), posting a record of 31-14-1, leading the Tigers to an SEC championship during his freshmen and junior seasons.
To this day, Hodson ranks at the top of many LSU passing categories, including career passing yards (9,115), passing touchdowns (69), completions (674), pass attempts (1,163), average passing yards per game (203.1), most attempts without an interception (49), and most victories by a starting quarterback (31).
Notable victories with Hodson at the helm included the #18 Tigers 27-0 win over #10 Texas, a 26-23 victory at #16 Georgia (LSU was #7 at the time), and a 30-13 Gator Bowl victory over #8 South Carolina which propelled LSU to a #5 ranking the final polls.
Hodson’s most memorable victory was the Earthquake Game in 1988. Trailing 6-0 to #4 Auburn, Hodson hooked up with running back Eddie Fuller on an 11-yard fourth down touchdown pass in the final moments of a Saturday night game at Tiger stadium. The 80,000 fans in attendance began jumping up and down and screaming so loudly, they registered a seismograph in the school’s geology department.
Following his 5 years in Baton Rouge, Hodson was selected early in the third round of the 1990 NFL Draft, going 59th overall to the New England Patriots. While New England stumbled to a 1-15 record, Hodson saw his most extensive playing time, starting the final 6 games of the season, passing for 968 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Hodson started 3 games for the Pats in 1991, 3 more in 1992, throwing for 841 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Bill Parcells was hired as Patriots head coach in 1993, cutting Hodson during training camp. Tom would play 3 more seasons in the NFL, serving as a backup with the ’93 Miami Dolphins, ’94 Dallas Cowboys, and eventually the New Orleans Saints. He didn’t take a snap in Miami or Dallas, but did see a brief bit of playing time with the Saints in 1995 as Jim Everett’s backup.
He only attempted 5 passes, completing 3 of them. However, his most memorable play with the Black & Gold was a successful two point conversion, though it wasn’t scripted.
Hodson served as the holder for PATs and field goals. During a late October game in San Francisco, the 1-7 Saints took a lead lead over the 49ers. Leading 9-7, New Orleans set up for an extra point, but the snap sailed over Hodson’s head. He retrieved the ball and heaved it into the end zone. Luckily, it was caught by Wesley Walls for a successful two point conversion. The Saints went on to the win the game, as the Niners had to drive for a touchdown rather than a game-tying field goal.
New Orleans won 5 of their next 6 games, ending the season 7-9. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the season was Hodson’s prayer to Walls.
Tommy played one more year in New Orleans, his last in the NFL. Serving as the backup quarterback, he didn’t take any snaps at QB during the’96 regular season.
While his NFL career produced a few highlights, Hodson is best remembered for his 4 seasons as the Tigers quarterback.
Last year, he was inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, an honor long time in the making.
Today, Hodson lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Andy of 22 years. They have two twin daughters, Christina and Catherine, who just finished their freshmen year at LSU.