The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 63   COMMITMENT PROFILE Leading up to his Aug. 8 commit- ment, Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic four-star defensive end James Hud- son was torn between Michigan and Michigan State. Alabama also threw its hat in the ring late, but the deci- sion ultimately came down to green or blue. A lot of experts in the industry had the 6-5, 271-pounder pegged to the Spartans, but when the time came Hudson took off his Central Catholic pullover to reveal a Michigan shirt and then threw on a Maize and Blue cap. "What really pushed me to commit to Michigan was my connection with Coach [Greg] Mattison," Hudson said. "Coach Mattison and I get along real well. He's definitely my favorite defen- sive line coach that I've met." Hudson had a chance to grow that relationship with Mattison while at the BBQ at The Big House Aug. 6. Hud- son's future position coach wasn't the only influential person at the BBQ that day. A future linemate also played a big role in convincing Hudson to choose the Wolverines. "Another thing that really helped this commitment was my friendship with Rashan Gary," Hudson said. "We connect real well, and we could see ourselves playing next to each other. "We really talked about the defen- sive line and how much depth they have. We talked about all different types of things. Rashan and I already have a good friendship already, and that's huge. "That whole day really pushed Michigan to the top. Me and my sister talked about it a lot and just where I could see myself playing. We just came to a conclusion that it was going to be Michigan." As if Mattison and Gary weren't enough to convince Hudson to come to Michigan, Jim Harbaugh also got in on the act. The head coach might've been the deal sealer when he told Hud- son what a career at U-M means. "Coach Harbaugh was just telling me about the benefits of coming to the University of Michigan," Hudson ex- plained. "He was telling me all about the program and telling me how early I could play. "They are going to be down in num- bers next year, so that's what really helped this commitment." Greg Dempsey is Hudson's head coach at Central Catholic, and he's been directly involved in his big line- man's recruitment. Dempsey knew that Hudson was down to Michigan and Michigan State and feels good about why his star player chose U-M. "James's big thing the whole time was finding a place that would be the best fit for him on and off the field for his entire college career," Dempsey explained. "He had basically gotten down to two great opportunities to decide from. It was difficult for him, but he called me and told me that he was going to choose Michigan. "He made the decision with his family, and he just said that it was the right fit for him. Everything felt very good for him up there. He's very ex- cited that this part is over, and he's glad that he can now focus on his senior season." Hudson is considered the No. 8 strongside defensive end and the No. 229 overall player in the nation by Dempsey doesn't think that's high enough and believes Har- baugh and Co. will get the best out of him. "Watching him grow over the last two and half years has been special," Dempsey said. "Early on he was just that raw guy that could be. Last year, he showed glimpses at the beginning of the season. As the year went on he got better and better and then it was just on all the time. "This year, I expect his game to be on another level. We expect a lot out of him, and he's definitely up for it. I think the University of Michigan is getting a great young man and a great football player. The sky is the limit for him. "He's going to a great place that can help him develop over the next four years, and I think he'll help Michigan win over the next four years. It's a great situation for both parties." — Brandon Brown Four-Star Ohioan James Hudson Chooses Michigan Over Sparty FILM EVALUATION Strengths: James Hudson's strength is one of his strengths. He's a massive kid, closer to 6-6 and 290 pounds now, with great quickness and agil- ity. He's way too much for anyone to handle in high school and could end up just as effective in college. Areas Of Improvement: Hudson's first step is sometimes too aggres- sive and that gets him off balance and over extended occasionally. He will also have to find the drive and stamina to go 100 percent all the time in college because in high school he doesn't really have to. Michigan Player Comparison: Though bigger and longer, Hudson compares favorably to former Michi- gan defensive lineman Willie Henry. Both of them are ridiculously power- ful and are versatile enough to play inside as a three-technique or on the edge as a strongside pass rusher. — Analysis from Hudson recorded 75 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks last fall, and helped lead Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic to the Division III state championship game. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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