2018 Season Countdown: #2 Khaleke Hudson

2018 Season Countdown: #2 Khaleke Hudson


August 28, 2018

Khaleke Hudson (image via MGoBlog)

Name: Khaleke Hudson
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 220 lbs.
High school: McKeesport (PA) McKeesport
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #7
Last year: I ranked Hudson #8 and said he would be the starting Viper with 65 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 interceptions (LINK). He made 83 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions (returned for 22 yards), and 9 pass breakups.
TTB Rating: 80

Hudson was probably the breakout star of the year for Michigan, at least on defense. Taking over the position of first round draft pick Jabrill Peppers, we didn’t know what we were going to see. Practice reports said he was as good as or better than Peppers. Peppers did leave some things to be desired, but that hype still seemed outlandish. But for once, the practice hype was real. Hudson started off fast and played well all year long. His game against Minnesota was an all-timer after he racked up 15 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. Those 8 tackles for loss are a Michigan school record and tied the NCAA’s mark for that stat. (The previous school record was set by linebacker Larry Foote against Iowa in 2001.) Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, David Long, Lavert Hill, and Shea Patterson are getting a lot of hype, but meanwhile Hudson is putting up some of the most impressive numbers of all time.

Now we head into the 2018 season with Hudson entrenched at Viper and having bulked up to 220 lbs. There’s no reason to expect anything less from him this year, except a) that would be ridiculous and b) other teams should be identifying and game planning for him. That Minnesota performance was probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but Hudson should still rack up some big numbers. He can cover, he can blitz, and he can stop the run. The reason he’s up here at #2 on the team is . . . we don’t know what’s behind him. Walk-on Jordan Glasgow exists, but he hasn’t shown anything to suggest he can approximate Hudson’s performance. Otherwise, Brad Hawkins, Jr. has spent some time practicing at Viper, and Michigan has moved freshman Michael Barrett from slot receiver/running back to Viper. To get the best players on the field, Michigan might have to restructure its whole defense to play more SAM-type linebackers like Noah Furbush or Joshua Uche. That would negatively impact the team’s versatility and playmaking ability.

Prediction: Starting Viper; 75 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 2 interceptions

5 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    Interesting. I would imagine that the way Brown’s defense works, Viper is going to be productive. My guess is either Hawkins or (hopefully) Woods would slide down

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3841
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 28, 2018 at 10:01 AM

      That might be the case, but then you’re talking about a less experienced player at the position and also hurting the safety depth chart – which was the least dependable aspect of the team last year. I would rather have Hawkins and Woods pushing Kinnel/Metellus and keeping a fire lit.

  2. TriFloyd
    Comments: 35
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    TriFloyd
    Aug 28, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    It seems like Hudson and Devin Bush had alternating good games. Bush started the year out with big games, then (my guess) other teams schemed against him, then Hudson had good games. I don’t know how I would show this other than stats, but it seems to correlate with stats that I’m incapable to recover.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6281
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 28, 2018 at 7:01 PM

      I had the same feeling. I think that’s Brown working his opponents. Like an offense that can bomb you 400 yards passing one week or grind you down with a 300 yard rushing day the next — Pick your poison.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 6281
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 28, 2018 at 7:00 PM

    My opinions are so:

    IF Hudson was to get hurt…

    I think Glasgow would be the guy they plug in. VIPER would take less of an attacking role – with more blitzes coming from Bush or Gil.

    SAM? From what I remember the last couple seasons, the SAM replaced a linemen (DT typically). The defense was a 3-3-5 when the SAM came in, outside of short-yardage maybe. The Viper stayed.

    I don’t think think Don Brown is going to roll out traditional 4-3 personnel as a base package. Furbush is not an ideal OLB for Brown’s scheme because he lacks versatility to cover. By all reports he’s still ahead of Uche (hyped but unproven, potential rush specialist) as a down-by-down player.

    If the backup safeties (e.g., Hawkins, JKP, Woods) are REALLY pushing the starters, then I think they could flip Metellus back to viper since he’s a more experienced option and has practiced there. Would be asking a whole lot to put an inexperienced player out at Viper, IMO.

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