Tommy Hudson was for his high school team last fall what Joel Bradford was for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He was the go-to wide receiver.
An all-state player at Colquitt County High School, in Moultrie, Ga., Hudson caught a state-record 102 passes for 1,410 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. He also led Colquitt to the Class 5A state championship game, where he had 11 catches for 127 yards.
Thirteen practices into his UTC career, Hudson has already established himself as a player that can help the Mocs this season. He had three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in last Friday's scrimmage.
"Tommy's going to play this year, and I'm excited about what he can do," offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said following Monday's practice.
Like Bradford, and fellow freshman wideout Ron Moore, Hudson isn't going to make plays because of his size.
"I'm not really the biggest receiver so I try to focus on running good routes and having good hands," said Hudson, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds.
The Mocs came into camp looking for a third wideout to line up alongside Bradford and Marlon Anthony, the spot vacated by Brian Sutherland. From the first practice, Hudson has shown that he could be the guy.
"You don't think about it too much in practice because you want to stay focused," he said, "but at the end of the day it's a pretty good feeling."
Moore has also gotten a lot of work with the first-team offense, but he's been out for several days after needing stitches in his right thumb.
"We've got to get Ron healthy with the hand because I think he can help us this year, too," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said.
On Monday, the UTC offense had its way with the defense for the second straight practice. The offense made plays on the ground and in the air, including during a late-practice series when it was backed up at its 1-yard line.
Satterfield said the past two practices have "been the best couple of days from an energy standpoint," but added that in terms of fundamentals, "we're a long way away."
Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said the defense looked tight in practice, perhaps as a result of Sunday's poor performance and subsequent tongue-lashing. He said they have to play loose to play well.
"Don't worry about not making the play," he said. "Worry about making the play."
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or (423) 757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...