Linebacker should be the strength of the defense next season with Hodges and middle linebacker Glenn Carson returning, along with the expected return of standout Michael Mauti from a season-ending left knee injury.
Jordan Hill, a junior who formed one-half of the standout defensive tackle tandem with All-American Devon Still, appears to be leaning to return but has said he would also like an evaluation about his potential draft prospects.
"I'll definitely talk to (my teammates). I've got close friends on this team and they'll definitely play a factor," Hill said. "I want to come back, but you just can't say there's a guarantee for anything. I don't want to base my decision on anybody else. I want to do what's best for myself."
And Penn State even has some good news on the recruiting trail, securing its first verbal commitment since charges were first filed against Sandusky early November. Sandusky is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty last month.
While three recruits have reportedly taken back their verbal commitments, two-way linemen Jamil Pollard of West Deptford (N.J.) High announced at an all-star game in Arlington, Texas last week that he was planning to attend Penn State. Pollard had a scholarship offer from Penn State last summer before it was revoked for academic reasons.
"Penn State is going to be Penn State no matter what. One coach or one player is not going to change things," he told the Courier-Post of Camden, N.J. last week. "You buy into the school, not a coach."