Badgers' Austin Hudson Quickly Turning Into Defensive Stud
The Tampa, Fla., native, a two-star recruit according to 247Sports, made his mark on the Wisconsin Badgers’ coaching staff during a one-day high school camp last summer. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound defensive back showed off his athleticism, running a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, earning a scholarship offer in the process.
Fast forward to this spring—Hudson, an early enrollee, is already making his mark on the field for Wisconsin, whose prospects at safety are anything but certain after losing Dezmen Southward last year to graduation.
In addition to the departure of Southward, the Badgers lost three other potential starters for one reason or another. Expected starter Reggie Mitchell transferred to Pittsburgh, potential junior college transfer Donnell Vercher was allegedly not accepted to the university and Tanner McEvoy, a contributor at safety last year, is crossing the line of scrimmage to try his hand at quarterback.
Enter Hudson, whose high school ran a complex defensive system that he says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used during their 2002-’03 Super Bowl season.
“I can make calls fast. I think fast,” Hudson said after verbally committing to Wisconsin last June. “That's a good contributor to the offer."
Head coach Gary Andersen has been talking all spring about how his secondary needs an upgrade in athleticism, and sees Hudson as a potential solution to those problems. It only helped case to enroll early and log an entire semester of practice and conditioning before his freshman season.
“You know, Austin [Hudson’s] walked back there in the free safety position ... and he’s right in the mix,” Andersen said. “And would he get that opportunity, that much of an opportunity, in the fall? Probably not.”
In watching spring practice the main thing that sticks out about Hudson is his ability to close ground quickly and make tackles in the run game, as well as move laterally to cover multiple receivers.
Andersen isn’t sure exactly where Hudson will fit in come fall, but with the secondary depleted and a full semester of practice under his belt, the Florida recruit looks to play some sort of role for the Badgers on defense.
“We weren't so much looking for corners or safeties, we were looking for young men that are highly competitive, that love the game of football, and that can run,” Andersen said. “That was the stamp we put on [Hudson].”