Off to a running start

Bryan Hudson runs onto the field at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium with his team in 2019. The Scott County graduate is now at Louisville and recently was named the No. 5 offensive lineman among this year’s NCAA Division I transfers.

College football preseason rankings, whether the topic is teams or players, and no matter the level, draw from a deep talent pool.

In this era of unprecedented athlete empowerment, including the option of a one-time transfer without the traditional one-year participation penalty of the past, even the list of top players on the move from one school to another has a who’s-who vibe.

Scott County product Bryan Hudson falls into the category of faces in new places who are hailed as immediate players to watch. The college insider website 247Sports.com recently ranked Hudson at No. 33 overall, and the fifth-best offensive linemen, among NCAA Division I players who will suit up for a new school this season.

Hudson made the move within the Atlantic Coast Conference from Virginia Tech to Louisville after a frustrating sophomore campaign with the Hokies. He is permitted to play immediately for the Cardinals and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

As the fifth-ranked lineman, Hudson also earned a spot on 247Sports’ all-transfer team along with fellow former Kentucky high school star Wan’Dale Robinson, who is coming home to UK after playing at Nebraska.

The other linemen deemed top transfers are Hudson’s former Virginia Tech teammate Doug Nester, now at West Virginia, Cain Madden (Notre Dame from Marshall), Obinna Eze (TCU from Memphis) and Wanye Morris (Oklahoma from Tennessee).

In selecting Hudson, 247Sports hailed his status as a four-star recruit when he graduated from SCHS in 2019, and his immediate impact at Virginia Tech that fall.

“Hudson can play anywhere on the interior of the offensive line,” Chris Hummer of 247Sports wrote in the column.

Hummer added that Hudson “projects as a big piece of Louisville’s long-term offensive line.”

Another writer for the site, Clint Brewster, characterized Hudson and Nester’s departure from Virginia Tech as “surprising.” In his list of the top 150 transfers regardless of position, Brewster recalled Hudson as “a former top-100 recruit who as a freshman started 10 games at center, despite never playing that position previously.”

Hudson and Nester were in a select group of only 28 true freshmen who played more than 500 snaps in the 2019 campaign. Virginia Tech went to the Belk Bowl that December, losing to UK on a last-minute touchdown pass by Lynn Bowden Jr.

Hudson was named to a pair of prominent freshman All-America teams after that season.

At both Virginia Tech and Louisville, Hudson has remained an exception at the Division I level by competing in two varsity sports. 

He was a thrower for the Cardinals’ track and field team in the spring after completing his transfer.

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound has played center, guard and tackle in college after numerous all-state honors at left tackle for Scott County. Hudson was a two-way star as a senior for SC. 

His late-game quarterback sack preserved a 28-27 win over Frederick Douglass for the district championship that year and ultimately propelled the Cards to the Class 6A state final, where they lost to Male.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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