With diluted rosters and some key players injured or held out as a precaution, spring football games often give rise to some unexpected stars.
That star of Georgia’s G-Day Saturday was none other than Brookstone graduate Prather Hudson.
Hudson had already made a name for himself last season as a versatile and productive special teams player. He started every game and made a big tackle in the Bulldogs’ Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma.
But Hudson, now a redshirt sophomore, was a busy man Saturday. He started at running back for the Black team, which comprised the second-team offense and the first-team defense. After taking his customary spot as the left tackle on the kickoff return team, Hudson stayed on the field. The Black’s first play from scrimmage was a swing pass from freshman Justin Fields to Hudson.
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Hudson finished the day with 40 yards on nine carries -- both tops on the day for both teams. He also caught five passes for another 60 yards. His 100 yards total offense was easily the most for either team.
Hudson scored a touchdown, then made the tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
“The line blocked really well today. I just hit some holes that they made for me,” Hudson said. “Really that’s all it was.”
Hudson was just as pleased, if not more so, with something that didn’t show up on the stat sheet.
“Definitely pass protection,” he said. “That’s a huge thing for us. We wanted to get better at it all throughout the spring. That was a big goal for us. I feel like we got better today. We worked on getting our hands inside and pushing the blocks back. I thought all the backs did a good job with that.”
“I thought he did a heck of a job,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “He’s a great kid. I love him.”
Even so, Hudson understands the deal. D’Andre Swift, who didn’t play Saturday, is the clear-cut starter. Juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien are proven backs who will get reps. Georgia signed two highly recruited backs in Zamir White, who is recovering from knee surgery, and James Cook, who did not enroll early. So chances are, come fall, most of Hudson’s playing time will come on special teams. That’s just life as a walk-on.
Still, it was nice to get a chance to play in front of a big crowd.
“It’s definitely fun to prove yourself. Every time you go out there you’ve got to have a chip on your shoulder.,” Hudson said. “That’s what I did throughout the spring and just take every day like it’s your last.”