Auburn’s the choice for Hudson
Published 12:27 am Saturday, April 28, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The orange shirt was a fairly apparent clue, but Troup’s Kobe Hudson did his best to make the moment suspenseful.
Hudson, a sophomore wide receiver, had earlier announced his intention to make a verbal commitment to the college of his choice, and there was a large gathering in the school’s media center on Friday morning to hear his decision.
After an introduction from his head coach at Troup, Tanner Glisson, Hudson stepped to the podium to make his choice known.
Following a few remarks, Hudson pulled a hat out of his box.
The Auburn logo on the hat told the story, and Hudson placed it on his head while his friends, teammates, family members and coaches applauded his decision.
A self-professed life-long Auburn fan, Hudson said the kinship he has with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn played a huge hand in his decision.
“We’ve got a good relationship,” Hudson said. “We go up there, and he treats me like I’m already a part of the program. I feel at home every time I go up there. It’s not just about football, it’s about relationships. They build a relationship with all the players. Everybody’s got a good relationship with all the coaches.”
Malzahn will have to wait a few years before he gets Hudson in the fold.
Hudson still has two seasons remaining as a high-school player, although he does hope to enroll early at Auburn, meaning he’d be able to go through spring practice in 2020.
Auburn will be getting a big-play receiver who has put up remarkable numbers in his first two seasons at Troup.
Hudson has more than 50 catches and close to 1,500 receiving yards in two seasons, and he has 12 touchdowns last season to help Troup go 9-3 and reach the second round of the state playoffs.
“He’s so much fun,” said Kelby Holt, Troup’s offensive coordinator. “You can teach him something one time, and he can go do it.
“Or you can just explain it to him and install it, and he can go do it. Just getting him the ball, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Kolt added that “he makes me look good sometimes as a coordinator. He’s fun to coach. He’s super athletic. He’s so smart, in the game of football. His football IQ is so much higher than most people. That’s what sets him apart that most people don’t see.”
Glisson said one of Hudson’s greatest attributes is his willingness to be coached.
“Kobe could easily come have come in here and tried to do it Kobe’s way,” Glisson said. “But Kobe allowed us, allows me, allows our staff to push him, because he knows number one it’s in his best interest, and number two it’s in the best interest of our football program.”
Sharing the stage with Hudson was his brother, Dwartney Wortham, who is a member of the Troup coaching staff.
“For him, he’s been an Auburn fan all his life,” Wortham said. “And the way coach Malzahn came in, and the way he built this relationship with Kobe, he said at the day it just felt like home.”
Wortham said no coach was more diligent in recruiting Hudson than Malzahn.
“He’s been consistent since the day I met him,” Wortham said. “He made it no secret that Kobe was his number one guy. He said he’s only 45 minutes away, and there’s no way I’m going to let him get out of my sight.”
Hudson is the second member of the Troup 2020 class to make a commitment to Auburn, joining defensive lineman Andy Boykin.
Defensive lineman King Mwikuta, who’ll be a senior this season, has committed to Alabama.
“(Boykin) recruited me a lot,” Hudson said. “King talked about Alabama, and he talked about Auburn.”
Hudson added that “there were a lot of people in my ear, and I just had to go with what I felt.”
Hudson can’t make it official until the early signing period in December of 2019.
While there’s no urgency to make the decision, Glisson said he didn’t rush into it.
“It’s my job as the head football coach to play devil’s advocate, and to try to raise questions, are you sure, have you thought about this?,” Glisson said. “And when he checks all the boxes and says this is the place I want to go, it’s hard for me to tell him no.”
Glisson said Malzahn’s recruiting effort was critical.
“There have been a lot of fine schools that have recruited Kobe in this process, and I think the one he’s choosing really feels like home to Kobe,” Glisson said.
While excited about his future at Auburn, Hudson is looking forward to his next two seasons at Troup.
In his first two seasons, Troup has won 18 games, and many of the players from last year’s team return, although quarterback Montez Crowe will need to be replaced.
“I’m ready for my junior season,” Hudson said. “This’ll be one for the books. Not just me. I don’t focus on me, it’s the team. We’re chasing that ring.”