Perhaps the biggest development for the Texas Tech football program this fall didn’t take place on the field. Rather, last month’s verbal commitment from 5-star wide receiver, Micah Hudson, has generated more excitement and notoriety than anything associated with Tech football in Joey McGuire’s two years on the job.
However, some Red Raider fans were concerned to find out that Hudson was in College Station this past weekend to see Texas A&M and Alabama square off at Kyle Field. This was considered an official visit for Hudson meaning that the Aggies had the opportunity to put their best foot forward during the biggest football weekend on their home schedule.
Hudson has only been loosely tied to A&M, though. Even before giving his pledge to Texas Tech, it never appeared that he was seriously considering Jimbo Fisher’s program even though it is just down the road from his hometown, Temple, Texas.
Rather, Tech and Texas were by all accounts the two primary suitors for Hudson. That made the fact that he picked the good guys all the more satisfying for Red Raiders who follow recruiting closely.
Hudson stays 100% committed to Texas Tech
This week, Hudson spoke to Greg Powers of “Dave Campbel’s Texas Football” (in a story that was once free but is now behind a paywall) to give an update on his status. What he said is music to the ears of Red Raiders everywhere.
"“I just want to be able to still have those relationships because you never know what could go wrong, but I’m still 100% locked in (with Texas Tech),” he said. “…just being able to go watch a football game and things like that, being able to take my family up there, my mom had never been to A&M, so I just wanted her to go see it for herself to see how it went.”"
Hudson remains the centerpiece of Texas Tech’s 2024 recruiting class. One of 20 high school players committed to McGuire in the current recruiting cycle, he is the No. 8 overall player and No. 2 wideout in the nation. When he signs with the Red Raiders in December, it will make him the highest-ranked player to ever join the program.
His inclusion in the class is a huge reason that Tech has the top-rated 2024 recruiting haul in the Big 12 and the No. 23 class in the nation. Hudson is one of four players currently committed to the Red Raiders with a ranking of four or five stars.
Of course, it is expected that he will make an immediate impact. That’s because he will bring to the wide receiving corps something that is currently absent, elite play-making.
The 2023 Texas Tech outside receivers are proving to be only mediocre at best. In fact, none of the receivers (inside or outside) have been game-breakers this year.
Slot receiver Myles Price leads Tech with 27 receptions 271 yards and 4 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the top outside receiver, Jerand Bradley, has just 22 catches for 252 yards and 3 TDs.
In other words, Tech is on pace to have its leading receiver catch 54 passes for 542 yards and 8 TDs. Much of that is due to the renewed emphasis on the ground game with Tahj Brooks assuming the role as the offense’s most dangerous weapon.
In the last two games, the first two with Behren Morton replacing Tyler Shough at quarterback, Tech has run the ball 72 times while throwing it only 48 times. That might change as defenses gear up to stop Brooks and the ground game, though. At that point, Morton and the receivers are going to have to make plays at a rate that they have not thus far in 2023.
One big issue facing the current group of pass catchers is that there seems to be no one with explosiveness who can also consistently get open. Players like Bradley, Loic Fouonji, Coy Eakin, and Jordan Brown are proving to be possession receivers who can move the chains but who aren’t going to be home-run threats.
The closest the Red Raiders have to big-play threats are Price and fellow inside receiver Drae McCray. Price is a shifty athlete who is tough to bring down one-on-one but he isn’t likely to strike fear in opposing defenses. Meanwhile, McCray does have the top-end speed that could make him a game-breaking threat but thus far, he isn’t proving to be skilled enough as a route runner to get open consistently.
In fact, McCray has only 12 receptions for 117 yards this year. His biggest impact has come not as a receiver but as a kickoff returner who is averaging 29.7 yards per return. Most notable was his 100-yard kickoff return TD against Houston to get Tech on the board in the 49-28 Red Raider victory.
The hope is that Hudson will bring some electricity to Tech’s passing game. Already this year, he has 807 receiving yards and 10 TDs in just seven games. He’s averaging a whopping 20.9 yards per catch thanks in large part to his illusiveness in the open field.
A fluid athlete who makes defenders miss with ease and who plays bigger than his 6-foot, 188-pound frame might suggest he should, the highlights he has put out during his high school career make Red Raider fans think of the greatest receiver in program history, Michael Crabtree.
While it would be unfair to expect Hudson to match the numbers Crabtree put up in his two seasons at Tech, Hudson does look like Crabtree in many ways including his build, his elusiveness in the open field, and his ability to make tough grabs even when he is covered.
Next season, Tech will be looking to add speed to the offense, especially in the passing game. They tried to do that this year by bringing McCray in from Austin Pea via the transfer portal but he’s yet to make the type of impact that was hoped.
The plan is to insert Hudson into the offense and see if he can bring the big plays back to Lubbock after several seasons in which Tech has been lacking a true alpha wide receiver. Few question whether Hudson will be able to make a difference for the Red Raiders and many expect his impact to be instant.
What some outside of the Red Raider family still question, though, is whether or not he will actually sign with Tech in December. It is hard for blue-blood schools to fathom a recruit of Hudson’s caliber picking the Red Raiders over virtually every program in the nation.
However, that’s a reality that they are going to have to accept. Even after visiting A&M, it appears that Hudson’s commitment to the Red Raiders is unwavering and his connection with McGuire and Co. remains arguably the biggest story of 2023 for the Texas Tech football program.