Published on October 16, 2019 by Joey Mullins  

Former Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges ’18 took the national stage during his debut NFL start Sunday night, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 24-17 win at the Los Angeles Chargers.

Hodges received a rookie mini-camp invitation from the Steelers and earned an undrafted free agent deal with his performance. After injuries to the team’s top two quarterbacks, Hodges, a sport administration major, saw his first action off the bench against the Baltimore Ravens in week five, and then earned his first start the following week at the Chargers. In his two appearances, he has completed 22-of-29 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown. 

Hodges isn’t the only Samford alumnus bringing the program national attention. Six former Samford players are currently on either NFL teams’ active rosters or practice squads. 

James Bradberry ’16 was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has been a starter in the team’s secondary since his rookie season. This season, the Panthers have a 4-2 record after the first six weeks of the season. Bradberry, who majored in sport administration, ranks fourth on the team in tackles. 

Ahmad Gooden ‘19 signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Denver Broncos this year. The Samford geography major was assigned to the franchise’s practice squad following the team’s preseason camp. The Broncos currently have a 2-4 record. 

Michael Pierce ‘16 is a starting defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Pierce, who majored in public administration, signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and has been a mainstay on the team’s defensive front ever since. The Ravens are off to a 4-2 start so far this season.

Jaquiski Tartt ‘15 is the highest drafted player in Samford history, being selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The psychology major has been one of the top players in the team’s secondary ever since he arrived in San Francisco. The 49ers are off to a great start this season with a 5-0 record. Tartt ranks fourth on the team in tackles.

Nick Williams ‘13 was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Through his career so far, the public administration major, has played for the Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, and is currently a member of the Chicago Bears.  The Bears currently have a record of 3-2 for the 2019 season.

At just six weeks into the NFL season, Samford fans will have plenty of opportunities to follow these former Bulldogs as they compete at the highest level. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.