SETH — Sherman High football coach Michael Showalter knows that if his maroon and gold gridders are to make a school-record fourth-straight playoff appearance, he's going to need senior leadership and part of that comes in the form of Clay Hudson.
"He's just a great kid," Showalter said. "We asked him to play tight end and he didn't question it. We asked him to move to outside linebacker and he embraced it. He does what you ask of him for the betterment of the team and he does it to the best of his ability. What more can you ask?"
Hudson has packed on some muscle to his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame since Sherman's season ended at Midland Trail with a Class A quarterfinal loss in 2018. "I've been hitting the weight room hard," he said. I've been working on my burst and speed. I'm pretty aggressive anyway, but those are the things I wanted to improve going into this season and I think I've done that. My footwork has improved, too."
Hudson has a special skill set and frame that his coach appreciates.
"He's long and he has those long arms, which can make him very disruptive on the defensive side of the ball," Showalter added. "We as coaches have to put him in a position to utilize that. He's very aggressive and isn't afraid to come up and pop you. I like his aggressive nature and I think that rubs off on the team. He's as good a teammate as you could ask for. That is his best attribute. We are counting on him to be a leader this year."
With the graduation of All-State quarterback JT Hensley, who did the lion's share of his damage with his legs, Hudson thinks the Tide will put the ball in the air a little more, even though the new Sherman signal caller hasn't been named.
"I think I'll get more opportunities at tight end," he said. If that happens I'll be ready but that doesn't matter. I just want to do whatever it takes for our team to be successful."
Hudson, who also sees work as a punt and kick returner, cites that his best memories of high school football involved his brother Lance, who graduated this year.
"I can't describe how great that was," he said. "It was definitely something special and I'm glad we could do that together."
The Tide pass catcher, who notched 50 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a sack last season, said that his role as a senior leader is something he takes seriously and that it is something he learned from Showalter and assistant coach Tom Hensley -and most of all from his parents, Jason and Cassie Hudson.
"They've all been influential but most of all my parents," he said. "Coach Showalter put me on the varsity field as a freshman and let me experience that and I'm grateful for that opportunity because it is going to help me now as a senior. There isn't too much that I haven't seen and I feel prepared."
Sherman opens their season on Aug. 30 when they host Clay County.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-307-2402.