James Hudson III, Wolverine

James Hudson III, Wolverine

August 8, 2016
James Hudson 206x

James Hudson

Toledo (OH) Central Catholic defensive end James Hudson committed to Michigan on Monday over offers from Alabama, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State, Pitt, and Tennessee, among others.

Hudson is listed at 6’5″, 280 lbs. and he claims a 5.05 forty. As a junior in 2015, he made 82 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks.

ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #30 DE
Rivals: 4-star, #8 SDE, #229 overall
Scout: 3-star, #32 DE
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #7 SDE, #220 overall

Hit the jump for more on Hudson’s commitment.

Hudson was a one-time Kentucky commit who decommitted from the Wildcats when other Power Five programs started offering him. Michigan offered him in May, and a June visit to Ann Arbor almost sealed the deal. After that it seemed like Michigan State got some momentum, and over the past few days, things have gone back and forth between the Spartans and Wolverines. Hudson was in Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House on Saturday and immediately scheduled an announcement for Monday.

For being 6’5″ and 280 lbs., Hudson has a pretty lean frame without much bad weight at all. He has a good reach and a lean lower body. He stays low out of his stance on defense and does a good job of using his hands in a 3-man front that has him two-gapping at times. He has good hand placement and uses the leverage he creates to torque offensive linemen out of position. That technique is aided by what appears to be some quality upper and lower body strength. With decent straight-line speed, he looks pretty comfortable as an offensive tackle when releasing up to the second level to block linebackers.

On the negative side, he lacks great quickness off the ball, which might inhibit him as a defensive end. He’s also kind of a powerful finesse player, meaning he’s strong enough to toss people around but instead uses angles, leverage, and his own body weight to drag guys to the ground. That’s a bit concerning for me on defense, where the wild and crazy guys typically live.

I’ve said this before, but mainly for that last reason, I envision Hudson as an offensive tackle or offensive guard at the next level. He’s not the most aggressive player, but he has the agility and strength to pull as a guard or be a blind-side tackle. He may never play a down of offense in college, but that might be his best bet to reach his maximum potential. As a defender, I think he’ll grow into a 3-tech defensive tackle or perhaps a 5-tech player that Michigan could use in an odd front. He reminds me a little bit of former Michigan defensive tackle Greg Banks.

Michigan now has 19 commits in the 2017 class, including defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon and defensive ends Corey Malone-Hatcher and Luiji Vilain. The class has enough room currently for 20 players (LINK), but that number will grow. He’s the first player Michigan has successfully recruited out of Toledo since Chris Wormley in 2012.

TTB Rating: 71 (ratings explation)


  1. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Aug 08, 2016 at 2:58 PM

    I had a feeling he was going to be in your low 70’s high 60’s rating. I was not impressed too much either. I was actually quite fine with all the ballz going toward MSU. Maybe he’ll prove us wrong and become a beast but for the types of guys we’ve been recruiting he seems a notch below.

  2. Comments: 1356
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Aug 08, 2016 at 3:11 PM

    I like him better than 71. I was kind of impressed with the side step thing he does a bunch, it seems to lead him into seams that other guys don’t necessarily find. i’m guessing a D line coach might have a problem with it if he’s been tasked with tying up a hat, but it works for him otherwise.

    Actually that lateral step thing really does make him look like a Tackle playing defense. What the hell, whats one more Offensive Tackle in the overall scheme of things.Maybe Hall or Honigford or somebody has the crazy for defense.

  3. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 08, 2016 at 4:28 PM

    I like having some guys who project to either OL or DL on the team.
    Opportunities for DL should come immediately for the ’17 guys, so they’ll see what they have to do to succeed.

  4. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Aug 08, 2016 at 9:25 PM

    Seems like a player who is either really liked, or falls just short of impressive

  5. Comments: 262
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 09, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Nice developmental prospect. Definitely not a DE in Don Brown’s defense. Whether or not he pans out as a DT is TBD. He may not have the ideal burst out of his stance, but he definitely is huge and runs pretty well once he gets going. Looks like a kid who can carry a ton of weight and not look chubby, a la Wormley. The fact that Hudson has potential as an OL increases his value for sure.

    • Comments: 182
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      Aug 09, 2016 at 2:24 PM

      pretty accurate assessment. he needs to seriously improve his explosiveness, leverage and quickness off the ball (along with the usual technique issues) in order to make an impact at DT. maybe he can. but i agree with thunder thats hes also really lacking in terms of violent, physical play, aggressive nature and his tackling needs serious work (almost every highlight includes some form of rolling, twisting attempt at a tackle where hes just dragging guys down – and thats usually not a good sign for 280 pound prospect vs 180 lb hs competition).

      he doesnt show much promise in terms of pass rushing (especially from DE spot) due to lack of explosion and lack of quickness out of his stance. he can improve some in those areas but its unlikely hes ever a terror off the ball. he also doesnt close on QBs or chase from the back side very well at all, and thats vs his current competition.
      but hudson is a huge kid and hes moves ok. and hes obviously strong and will only make further strides in that area. i think his games better suited to OL but well see. safe bet he has the attitude, smarts and work ethic the coaches desire since they obviously like him enough to bring him on board. hopefully mattison and brown mold him into a decent rotation player at DT – and if not, he can always shift to OL.

      i just hope they continue pursuing the few top DL in this class and dont really envision hudson as a future all conference DT bc i dont see the dominance in his game. as long as hes recruited with that in mind i guess hes a solid addition and should be able to find a role at some point. 6’5″ 300 pounders with the right attitude and mental makeup dont grow on trees. and id certainly be thrilled if he proved me wrong and turned into reggie white

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