Former Troup football stars Hudson and Thrash reunite to give back to the community

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2024

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Two Troup football legends were reunited at Troup High on Friday. University of Central Florida wide receiver Kobe Hudson and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jamari Thrash used to make defenders look silly on the gridiron together as they were both all-state players in their time as Tigers and helped the team make the state semifinals in 2018.

Life had taken these two young men on similar but different routes. On Friday, those routes converged where they used to put in blood, sweat and tears and a quest to be recognized. 

“It’s a blessing man from God to just put me in this position and just give it to the kids to have the opportunity to just come out in let them have fun for no cost and just let them come out when their friends and give them free stuff,” Hudson said. 

“This is what it is all about,” Thrash said. “I’ve been wanting to give back and do a camp like this far a while now. It’s special.”

The two were reunited for a purpose as they hosted the Troup football camp alongside former Troup and Auburn football player Joko Willis as well as former LaGrange and Heard County star Emory Jones, who is currently a member of the Baltimore Ravens. The camp was free as the four looked to give back to the community that helped mold them.

“All I had when I was their age was a dream,” Hudson said. “I was a kid that just used to stand up in the middle of the class and say ‘I’m going to play college football and go to the NFL’ and everybody would look at me crazy. It’s just a blessing to be in the position that I am today.”

Seek Kobe Hudson and Jamari Thrash catch passes from each other in Troup’s indoor practice facility will not be a sight the kids forget soon.

It was not so very long ago that these college and pro players were just kids looking up to those who came before them.

“It’s crazy to think that we were coming to camps like this none that long ago,” Thrash said. 

As summer heads toward its apex, Hudson and Thrash are primed to get back on the field on Saturdays and Sundays, respectively.

Hudson is going into his second season at UCF and is looking to build on a career year in 2023 in which he caught 44 passes for 900 yards and eight touchdowns.

Hudson, like Thrash, used the portal in college to great effect. Hudson spent three seasons at his dream school, Auburn, where he compiled 90 catches for 1,291 yards and 11 touchdowns.  The former Troup star forged a strong connection with former Auburn coach and current UCF head coach Gus Malzahn.

“That is my right-hand man right there,” Hudson said. “I was committed to him since like my eighth grade year, so we have really built a strong connection over the years. He is like a second father to me.”

“With the 156th pick in the NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns select Jamari Thrash, wide receiver, Louisville” were some of the most special words that Trash ever heard. With no. 80 on his back, the former Georgia State and Louisville wide receiver is ready to make his impact felt at the next level.

“Hopefully I can bring some explosiveness to the offense and I’m saying that those guys they have aren’t fast, but I can bring some excitement and enthusiasm to the offense and be a spark for them,” he said.

Thrash has already survived the gauntlet of rookie camp and sits on the precipice of his first-ever NFL training camp. 

“I’m loving up there,” Thrash said. “I’m already getting to work. It’s nice to be home for a little while before I have to go back up there and get ready for training camp.”

Before making his way to the NFL, Thrash was an all-conference player in his last season at both Georgia State and Louisville. He caught 61 passes for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023 for the Panthers, earning All-Sun Belt first-team honors. Thrash caught the attention of bigger schools with his monster season in 2023 and transferred to Louisville for his final season of college football, totaling 63 catches for 858 yards and seven total touchdowns as he earned second-team All-ACC honors. 

The numbers and accolades for these players speak for themselves, but their character and willingness to give back is what makes Hudson and Thrash immortal in the Troup community.

“We did a lot of special things here at Troup,” Hudson said. “Jamari is my brother for life and I always knew that greatness would be coming his way.”