TYLER - Tyler-native Clay Hodges is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin.
"I just always had orange blood," he said.
As he received his own class ring during the fall semester, the third-generation Texas Longhorn had a surprise waiting for his dad, Bryan.
Mr. Hodges graduated from UT in 1985, following behind his father, who completed his degree in 1949.
Clay's dad and grandfather, affectionately known as PaDad, each bought a class ring to mark the accomplishment.
"As a little boy, Clay would sit in his grandfather's lap, and his ring was very worn and smooth, but you could decipher the longhorn on it," said Clay's mom Francie Hodges. "He said 'one day if you work hard you can go to UT and get your own Bevo ring.'"
Though PaDad passed away in 2005, Clay took that message to heart.
A junior at UT -- he received his own 'Bevo ring' last fall, surrounded by family who traveled to Austin for the ceremony.
"I was just telling him how proud his grandfather would be and how proud I was of him," said Bryan, who had no idea of the surprise he would soon receive.
Bryan lost his class ring in 2009, so he began wearing the one his father used to.
"I hated not having a ring," he said. "But I had that one so it was kind of keep the ring on and kept the tradition going."
PaDad's ring just wasn't the same, though.
"When it was time for Clay to order his ring, he went to the Alumni Center and they asked him if he was interested in the replacement plan," Francie explained.
It made Clay wonder if his dad purchased such a plan three decades before. While sales representatives confirmed the ring wasn't protected, they had a bit of good news.
"They had all the information still," Francie said. "They could duplicate that ring."
Clay ordered the replica and presented it to his dad the night of his own ring ceremony.
"It meant a lot," Bryan said. "My dad had had one and it was kind of a tradition there, and it was all my son's idea so that meant a lot too."
"Everyone in our family just loves UT so much," Clay said.
Now, he and his dad have symbols of the burnt orange blood that began flowing through their family decades before -- all thanks to PaDad.
"He would love it. He would think this is great," Bryan said.
Rest assured, the Hodges bought protection plans for both rings this time around.
Their story was recently featured online by UT's alumni association, Texas Exes.
Clay will graduate in May 2018 with a Sports Management degree.
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