Troup’s Hudson named state’s top player
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
There weren’t many question marks for the Troup Tigers as a new season approached.
Nearly every key player from the 2017 team was set to return, but Troup did have to replace one important individual.
Montez Crowe was a two-year starter at quarterback, and he was one of the state’s best players at the position in 2017.
The man who was tasked to replace Crowe was a play-making wide receiver during his first two seasons as a high-school player.
Troup’s coaches felt Kobe Hudson had what it took from a physical and mental standpoint to get the job done.
Considering Hudson was selected as the Recruit Georgia Class AAAA player of the year, the coaches were clearly right.
Hudson, who was also the Region 5-AAAA player of the year, had a remarkable season while leading the Tigers to a 12-2 record and a spot in the Class AAAA semifinals.
Last week, Recruit Georgia announced its Class AAAA all-state team, and four players were named as finalists for the player of the year award.
Recruit Georgia put a poll on its website, with Hudson competing with Mary Persons’ JT Hartage, Blessed Trinity’s Steele Chambers, and Marist’s Kyle Hamilton for votes.
In a close vote, it was Hudson finishing just ahead of Hartage to secure the player of the year honor.
It was well-deserved.
No Class AAAA quarterback in the state had numbers that rivaled Hudson’s.
Hudson did it with his right arm, completing 172-of-302 passes for 3,386 yards and 32 touchdowns.
Hudson was also a threat running the ball with a team-leading 1,410 yards on 151 attempts with 18 touchdowns.
Hudson was at his best when the games meant the most.
During Troup’s four playoff games, Hudson threw for 805 yards with seven touchdowns, and he ran for 594 yards with six touchdowns.
In his final game against eventual state-champion Blessed Trinity, Hudson threw for 234 yards with three touchdowns, and he ran for 204 yards with two touchdowns.
In a quarterfinal victory over Cairo, it was Hudson’s 80-yard touchdown run that helped turn momentum and propel Troup to a 20-17 victory.
As dynamic as Hudson was in that game, he stressed that it is always a team effort.
“I just give all of the credit to my teammates,” Hudson said. “They played hard. I know they’ve got my back, so I’ve got to have their back. When it’s time for them to make the big play, they make it. When it’s time for me to make the big play, I make it.”
The man who has worked as closely as anyone with Hudson is Troup quarterbacks coach Paul Brewer.
While Hudson and Crowe were different kinds of quarterbacks, Brewer said they both share common traits that helps them be superb players.
“Number one, they’ve got to lead the team,” Brewer said. “If something bad happens, nobody’s coming to rescue them on Friday night, so they’ve got to be willing to lead. And when it’s over with, they have to be willing to learn, and go back and make adjustments quick. That’s the thing both of them have in common is they’re both extremely smart. They can both comprehend.”
Hudson was joined on the Recruit Georgia team by fellow Troup Tiger King Mwikuta, who capped his stellar high-school career with a big senior season.
Mwikuta, who played defensive line and linebacker during his three seasons as a starter, was the foundation of a defense that helped the Tigers win the most games in the history of the program.
Last week, Mwikuta signed a letter of intent with Alabama, and he plans on enrolling early so he’ll be able to participate in spring practice.
LAGRANGE: A pair of LaGrange standouts earned a spot on the Recruit Georgia Class AAAA all-state team.
Dexter Fitzpatrick, who enjoyed a monster season at linebacker, made the team, as did punter Wesley Kuhn.
Fitzpatrick, who was the Region 5-AAAA defensive player of the year, was tops in Class AAAA with 182 tackles, including 89 solo stops, and he had 26.5 tackles for loss.
Kuhn was a weapon for the Grangers. The senior had 54 punts for a 41.7-yard average, and 18 times he pinned an opponent inside its own 20-yard line.
Kuhn led Class AAAA in both categories.
In Kuhn’s first game of the season, a 10-3 loss to Class AA state-champion Heard County, Kuhn had six punts for a 50-yard average.