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)
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