Cody Hawkins did not leave the cupboard bare when he left UC Davis to become the head coach at Idaho State. Mike Cody not only inherited the title of offensive coordinator with the Aggies after two seasons as the offensive line coach, but he also got the best quarterback in the Big Sky Conference.
Miles Hastings was a first-team selection to the All-Big Sky team in 2022 after leading the conference in passing yards with 3,048 and completion percentage at 69.8 (256 of 367). Hastings threw just six interceptions, the lowest total for a Big Sky quarterback with 240 or more passing attempts. He was also picked off six times in 2021 with 152 fewer attempts.
“I am the coordinator and get an all-conference quarterback with a 70 percent completion percentage. How lucky am I?” Cody said Thursday. “(Hastings) is special. There’s no doubt about it. I’m extremely lucky.”
Keeping Hastings healthy will be a priority when the Aggies kick off the 2023 season Aug. 31 at Texas A&M-Commerce. Hastings started the last five games in 2021 after Hunter Rodrigues sustained a concussion. Rodrigues and Hastings were expected to battle for the starting job last season, but Rodrigues left the program.
Hastings survived 11 games as the starter last season because he was protected by the offensive line, which allowed the fewest sacks in the Big Sky with 11. Hastings was sacked seven times. The Aggies will have to find replacements for two offensive linemen who earned All-Big Sky honors in 2022 – tackle Nick Amoah (first team) and center Connor Pettek (second team).
The return of Jake Parks will make rebuilding the offensive line easier. Parks was selected to the All-Big Sky first team in 2021, but the four-year starter at guard was injured in the 2022 opener at Cal and missed the rest of the season.
Parks had the option of leaving UC Davis as a graduate transfer just as tackle Kooper Richardson did after the 2020 season. Richardson felt as if he was no longer wanted by the Aggies, so he entered the transfer portal and went to Sacramento State to be reunited with his father Kris, the assistant head coach for the Hornets who also coached his son at Folsom High.
Richardson returned to UC Davis on Nov. 20, 2021 for the Causeway Classic and celebrated at his old stomping grounds after the Hornets beat the Aggies 27-7 to finish 8-0 in the Big Sky. Richardson now plays for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.
Cody was never worried about Parks leaving because “it wasn’t any question for Jake. Once he found out about the (severity of the) injury, he said he was coming back. In this day and age of college football, it’s tough to come back because guys want to leave for another school. Jake could play at 100 schools, but he’s very loyal. He wants to finish what he started here.”
Speaking of starting, Cody’s coaching career began in 2012 at UC Davis as a graduate assistant after playing two seasons as a receiver with the Aggies. Cody transferred from Sierra College to UC Davis because then-Aggies coach Bob Biggs promised there would be opportunities for Cody to become a coach once he was finished as a player.
Biggs believed Cody had what it takes to be a coach. And he was right.