ORLANDO - When opportunity strikes, UCF Football needs to answer the call. That’s what happened when Kobe Hudson joined the fold with the Knights, coming over from Auburn. The following represents thoughts about his talents and how the Knights can utilize his skills to improve the offense.
Vitals: 6’1”, 200-pounds
Position: Wide Receiver
High School/College: LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County/Auburn
High School Recruitment
Offers from several SEC programs like Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi State, LSU, Florida and Vanderbilt, plus additional offers from Appalachian State, Clemson, Michigan, Troy, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Miami, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Georgia Southern.
Sophomore Statistics at Auburn
Hudson produced 44 receptions, 580 yards, 13.2 average, and four touchdowns.
Hudson glides when he runs. He’s not a one-step-to-full-speed player, but he’s fast. That’s especially true at the second level of the defense as he will pull away from cornerbacks and safeties with an almost effortless stride. Flexible and quick, Hudson’s athleticism also includes good strength for his size.
He’s pretty close to the weight he needs to be at if not there already, so now he needs to simply work on explosiveness like any other receiver in the college or professional ranks.
Style of Play
He’s Mr. Dependable. The player a quarterback looks for on third down and four and it’s a must have conversion. He’s fast, but more importantly he creates separation, in tight spaces, from top-notch cornerbacks as proven by his sophomore season at Auburn against a schedule that included Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Houston. All of those teams have defensive backs with NFL aspirations that are realistic.
He’s a good route runner that works within the concept of the offense to make plays. He understands how to use a jab step to the outside before making a sharp cut in the other direction to run a short slant route. Hudson will use his body to shield off a cornerback to create a bigger window for the quarterback to throw the football just as another example.
Sure, he still needs to improve as he refines his craft. That stated, Hudson already proved he’s further along than most sophomore receivers based on his sophomore footage. That’s going to result in many big-play opportunities with UCF.
Above all else, remember that this young man has a knack for using a combination of athleticism and route running skills to get open. To that end, it leads to key moments that Hudson has produced.
If you have not seen Hudson’s one-handed grabs against Mississippi State, they are two great examples of making it happen when it absolutely needed to happen. A third down one-handed catch followed by a over-the-shoulder-one-handed-grab in the back of the end zone for a score.
Both were quality passes but required a level of skill to haul in the football that most receivers do not possess. Hudson delivered.
After the Catch
He’s nimble in space; Hudson will wait until the last moment and then back underneath a defensive back to gain extra yardage. His vision is very good and he will change speeds to set up blocks and make defenders work to get to him. Hudson is a prime candidate to be a part of UCF’s screen package and that creates more opportunities for his fellow receivers as well because teams need to plan for Hudson.
Specific Wide Receiver Position(s)
This is where it really becomes fun. Hudson is not a giant receiver at 6’6”, 225-pounds, but his stout 6’1”, 200-pound frame can certainly play the boundary position. It’s the crucial spot where a wide receiver is often one-on-one and absolutely goes up against top cornerbacks. Winning those battles, much like Brandon Johnson did for the Knights in 2021, will be critical. The bonus is what else Hudson could do.
Whenever Ryan O’Keefe or Jaylon Robinson come out of the game or cannot play due to injury, Hudson’s skills will allow him to move to any one of the three wide receiver positions during a given play. This would not be the case if he was not coming in for spring practice, and that totally changes the projection for him.
Reps! Reps! Reps!
Wide receivers need as many reps as possible when transferring. Learning the playbook will help, but being in tune with the quarterbacks takes center stage. UCF will be able to experiment a little bit. Find out where Hudson does the best in conjunction with the signal callers throwing him the football in practice.
Some plays at slot, some plays out wide, and of course some plays at boundary will be in order for Hudson. He will find his niche. That’s why the reps are needed during spring, summer and fall. It’s a long process to figure out what will work the best, especially in crucial moments of a game.
Hudson has the potential to make an immediate impact at UCF. He’s a versatile receiver that makes plays after the catch, and he’s also capable of taking some of the attention off of the other wide receivers on the field at the same time as him. With Hudson, O’Keefe, and Robinson in the lineup at the same time, UCF’s wide receiver corps will be as good as any in the AAC, and it’s certainly Power Five material. All three of those young men have NFL abilities.