With the departure of multi-year starter Sedrick Flowers at left guard and an underwhelming performance from junior Brandon Hodges in the Orange and White game, the Texas Longhorns came into the summer needing some help in the interior of the line.
Enter former Baylor Bears signee Patrick Hudson, who joined the now-complete 2016 recruiting class for the ‘Horns last week in a huge pick up for position coach Matt Mattox.
At 6’5 and 325 pounds, Hudson is a massive prospect with the lofty rankings to match his impressive stature — he’s the No. 50 prospect overall, the No. 2 offensive guard, and the No. 7 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Texas head coach Charlie Strong said that he’s “really excited” about adding Hudson to the mix and there’s significant cause for that because the rankings do tell the tale of the Silsbee product’s potential impact this season.
One thing that stands out quickly about Hudson, who participated in the 2016 Under Armour All-American game, is that he carries his mass extremely well — it’s not particularly easy to guess that he weighs 325 pounds, which is always ideal when evaluating players at the position.
However, that doesn’t mean that Hudson lacks strength. A powerlifter in high school, he had a 1,800-pound combined lift in finishing second in the Texas High School Powerlifting Association Championships Division 2 Super Heavyweight class last year.
By comparison, former Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings broke Silsbee native Mark Henry’s 22-year-old record with a 2,010-pound combined lift several years ago.
Now the key for Hudson is translating that raw strength into success on the football field, just as Billings did in Waco.
Assessing Hudson’s ability in pass protection is relatively difficult since there are few clips of his work there at Silsbee, but given his projections as an interior lineman despite his size, it seems fair to say that he will need to show some growth there, as with even the most elite high school offensive lineman.
The running game is where Hudson could have an early impact because of that strength that he combines with flashes of excellent leverage and elite feet for his size.
Where Flowers was a lumbering player with limited movement ability because he lacked flexibility, Hudson is both flexible and quick on his feet.
Offensive lineman often struggle to change direction when pulling in situations like the one above because they take strides that are too long, but watch how Hudson chops his feet in the hole to allow himself to come under control.
When Hudson comes off the ball low, with a flat back, and rolls out of his hips, he’s a dominating presence and can show good initial punch with upside there because of his strength.
Eventually, Hudson should have a shot at playing right tackle as long as he can maintain his mobility in college. The same feet that help him so much in getting to the second level give Hudson the capability of dealing with edge rushers as long as he can keep from getting overextended.
For now, he’s a candidate to challenge Hodges for a spot on the interior, along with fellow 2016 signee Denzel Okafor, and provide valuable depth for the Longhorns.
It’s tough to say that he’s the most important of the four Baylor signees, as wide receiver Devin Duvernay is also an absolute stud, but Hudson plays a position of slightly bigger need. And it isn’t exactly easy to find 6’5, 325-pounders who can move like Hudson, which further increases his value.
Add it all together and Texas has another young offensive lineman to combine with fellow freshman Zach Shackelford and sophomores Connor Williams and Patrick Vahe to form a strong nucleus that should position the ‘Horns to have one of the best groups in the country in 2017 and 2018.