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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By Sammy Batten

Recruit matches headgear to the occasion

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Taylor Hudson is a man of many helmets. Hudson has been seen most often wearing a football helmet on the offensive line for the Mauldin (SC) High School football team.

But during the football offseason, weekends and summer vacation, Hudson dons a fire helmet as an aid with the Mauldin Fire Department. His father, William, has been a firefighter in Mauldin since he was 18.

Hudson became involved with the department through a Fire Explorer program that educates youths from 15 to 21 about the fire service and provides some on-the-job experience for those who complete certain training.

“I get to run calls and all that stuff,'' Hudson said. “I've grown up around firemen since I was a little kid. My Mom and I used to go see my Dad at the firehouse and I'd get on the trucks and just hang out. I just love it.''

The combination of Hudson's interest in possibly becoming a full-time fireman some day and his talent wearing that other helmet will land him in Greenville sometime in 2010.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder became the sixth player to make an oral commitment to play football at East Carolina last month after first receiving the offer in early June. The Pirates were the only school to have offered a scholarship to Hudson.

The Pirates began recruiting Hudson about midway through his junior season. He sent a highlight film to the coaching staff after Mauldin's 2008 season and soon began conversations with ECU recruiting coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick.

“He (Kirkpatrick) came down to watch me in spring practice and they offered me the week after that,'' Hudson said. “I really didn't know that much about them, but I had seen them play on TV.

“But when I went up there for a visit and all the coaches were just super. It felt like I was supposed to be there. It felt like family.''

ECU also had two majors Hudson is interested in — fire science and criminal justice.

The football Pirates are getting a player in Hudson who has been a starter at offensive tackle at Mauldin since his sophomore season. Doug Shaw remembers seeing Hudson as a freshman during his first year as Mauldin's head coach.

“He's always been a big kid,'' Shaw said. “He always stood a little taller than everyone else. But what actually impressed us was how good he moved. He has really good feet. When you see big boys come through the gym or the weight room, the first thing you look at are their feet. He moves very well for a big guy.

“He actually got thrown to the wolves very early in his sophomore year. We just told him to go and play. And he did a fine job for us at right tackle. We moved him to left tackle last year.''

Shaw cited a play in a state playoff game against Clover last season as a great example of Hudson's talent.

“We run a spread offense, but we run the ball a great deal out of it,'' Shaw said. “One play last year not only made his highlight tape, but it made the running back's tape, too. During our playoff game against Clover, he just absolutely demolished the MIKE linebacker and sprung us for a big touchdown in the first half. We put that one on the running back's tape, too.

“You can see that he's one of those guys who, when he gets his hands on you at the high school level, we feel like you're blocked. He has big, strong legs and uses them to his advantage. He doesn't just lean on you. He brings all his weight and girth with him, and tries to pancake block you every time he can.''

The Pirates have recruited Hudson to play tackle, but others were interested in him as a guard.

“East Carolina hasn't said anything to me about moving to guard,'' Hudson said, “so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a tackle.''

Hudson is the second offensive line prospect to make a commitment to the Pirates for 2010. He joins 6-6, 300-pound Drew Gentry from Tallahassee, FL, who pledged in April.

E-mail Sammy Batten.

Sammy Batten's Archives

08/05/2009 03:27:34 AM


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