For the first time in a while, the Heel Tough Blog hit the virtual recruiting trail to take an in-depth look at a Tar Heel commit on Friday night. 2023 4✮ QB commit Tad Hudson was the focus in a matchup between the Hough Huskies and the Julius Chambers Cougars for the right to go to the 4A State Championship Game next Saturday.
Unfortunately for Hudson, the Huskies came up short to the Cougars, who came from behind to win 35-21 and advance to a fourth straight state title game.
Hudson had a strong start to the night, completing his first six passes, including all three attempts on the opening drive of the game that was capped by his 20-yard touchdown pass to Markell Quick to open the scoring. He finished 9 of 12 for 159 yards and a touchdown in what a fairly strong first half performance. The second half was a much different case for Hudson, though. Despite a very nice 13-yard touchdown throw on his second pass of the half, Hudson would complete just three of his 13 pass attempts in the final two quarters for 48 yards and toss two interceptions after that touchdown pass. One of the big reasons for his struggles was the sheer amount of pressure that he was under from the Chambers defensive front throughout the second half. That pressure culminated when Hudson was stripped on the first play of the series after Chambers took their first lead out the night and it was scooped and scored for a touchdown which put the game out of reach. Hudson finished the game 12 of 25 for 207 yards and a 2-2 TD-INT ratio.
Let’s start with the obvious: three turnovers are definitely not good. However, the second interception was a heave into the middle of the field on the final play of the game and really didn’t mean much and the sack-fumble was a play he had no chance one with how immediate the pressure was. His first turnover of the night was more of the concern because the ball was a little bit high, an issue that was present throughout the night. Hudson really struggled in the second half when under pressure, but in the first half he showed some moments where he handled it well. He made some really nice off-platform throws while on the move, highlighted by a 42-yard completion on his second throw of the game to wide receiver Darryl Taylor Jr. and the 13-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Kryshtalowych, which he was able to squeeze into a tight window. He made a few tight window throws that were encouraging and his ball placement on a back shoulder throw to Taylor Jr. for his longest completion of the second half was perfect. He is not quite the runner that the Tar Heel quarterback recruits under Mack Brown have been, but he showed some nice ability to move the pocket and when he did take off, he did show some solid running ability. This is a game that would have been great to see him step up and take over, but he wasn’t able to do that, in part because of his offense’s inability to slow down the pressure that Chambers threw at them.
This is just the start of our look at the current Tar Heel commits from this fall that we will be doing over the next couple of months. We will be looking at every early signee that the Tar Heels sign later this month to give a look at what to expect from them whenever they arrive to campus, so make sure that you keep it here with the Heel Tough Blog over the offseason.