Jesuit High School football standouts Dane Belton '19 and Larry Hodges '19 signed with the University of Iowa and the University of Miami, respectively, at a special ceremony Wednesday (Dec. 19), the first day of the football early signing period.
Dozens of family, friends, coaches, and media were on hand for the special event in Faber Hall. Jesuit athletics chaplain Fr. Vincent Capuano, S.J. and athletic director Terry Rupp '84 first addressed the signees, encouraging them to continue to strive for excellence on the field and in the classroom at Jesuit and in college. Then Rupp gave the instruction, and they signed their National Letter of Intent.
Belton, a 6-2, 195-pound defensive back, and Hodges, a 6-3, 235-pound tight end, have been centerpieces of a spectacular run of success for Jesuit football the past four years. The Tigers have gone 43-9 from 2015-18 under head coach Matt Thompson, with three Region Championships and a trio of State Semifinal appearances.
Belton and Hodges each had dozens of major college scholarship offers to choose from, and both are extraordinarily versatile players who performed at the highest level in multiple positions on offense, defense, and special teams – excelling wherever the team needed them.
Belton was primarily a defensive back, but he also was the Jesuit punter and was one of the best punt and kickoff returners in the state, while occasionally playing wide receiver. Belton led Jesuit with 9 passes defensed and made 4 interceptions this season.
Hodges was a primarily a tight end and wide receiver, while also holding on field goals and PATs, occasionally playing running back and quarterback, making a few appearances on defense, and joining Belton on kickoffs returns. Hodges led the Tigers in receptions and receiving yards each of the past two seasons.
This was the second of four college signing ceremonies scheduled at Jesuit this school year. The third will take place Feb. 6 (which also will include football players), and the fourth on April 17. Each year, 20-30 Jesuit student-athletes sign to participate in college athletics.
Please see below a photo slideshow and a video from Wednesday's ceremony: