Name: Khaleke Hudson
Weight: 220 lbs.
High school: McKeesport (PA) McKeesport
Jersey number: #7
Last year: I ranked Hudson #2 and said he would be the starting Viper with 75 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and 2 interceptions (LINK). He made 44 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 blocked punts.
TTB Rating: 80
I ranked Hudson at #2 overall last year, behind only Shea Patterson. We got a chance to see what the team looked like without Hudson when he was ejected from two games for targeting, a rule that Don Brown said affected his play for the remainder of the year. For better or worse in regard to Hudson, the defense as a whole didn’t miss a beat. The Wolverines plowed ahead with an elite defense until the whole thing went to s*** against Ohio State and then Florida.
The primary replacement at Viper last season was Jordan Glasgow, who still exists this year in the form of Viper/WILL Jordan Glasgow. There are some reports indicating that Glasgow is playing both positions, while others say Glasgow has made the full-time switch to WILL. Maybe the coaching staff is confident in redshirt freshman Michael Barrett to back up Hudson at Viper, or perhaps one of the other options, who are mostly true freshmen.
I expect a bit of a bounce back from Hudson. The Viper position has been much more productive, both in 2016 and 2017, and Hudson shouldn’t have to make any adjustments to his game. Maybe it was a one-year blip. Maybe it was just the fact that the Wolverines didn’t play Minnesota in 2018. Whatever the reason, Hudson should have a solid year in 2019. But if he goes down, the incredibly creative Don Brown could go with Barrett, Glasgow, more of SAM Josh Uche, a veteran safety (J’Marick Woods, Brad Hawkins), or a talented freshman (Daxton Hill, Quinten Johnson, Joey Velazquez). As perhaps the most recognizable position in Michigan’s defense, it will be very interesting to see who gets the snaps in 2019 when Hudson needs a breather.
Prediction: Starting Viper; 60 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception