Coming off a breakout 2016 season, Clear Springs junior running back Todd Hudson II is still finding ways to improve his game and is running even stronger to start this season.
A first-team all-county selection last year as a sophomore, Hudson is well on his way to matching (if not surpassing) the numbers that earned him plenty of accolades last season, as he is seeing the little adjustments to his running fundamentals pay off on the field.
“I’ve been trying to lower my pads more instead of running more upright and getting downhill faster instead of dancing in the backfield and making the right reads at the line of scrimmage, knowing where the hole is going to be,” Hudson said.
Through the Chargers’ first four games, Hudson has racked up 548 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on 75 carries as the lead running back on a talent-rich Clear Springs offense. Head coach Craig Dailey, too, has noticed the improvement to Hudson’s technique.
“His vision has really improved and reading his keys up front,” Dailey said. “We have to have really good eye discipline at running back and fullback up front to read the keys of the blocking, and he’s done a really good job of making the reads and getting north-to-south and running behind his pads. He’s been running hard, getting a lot of yards after contact.”
The running back position is of utmost importance in Dailey’s offensive system, which he picked up from his previous assistant coaching stint at perennial powerhouse Katy and that prominently features the running-favorable I-formation.
“It’s very important,” Dailey said. “When we have a new freshman class coming in and we’re drafting them, we always pick the running back first because we need to have a great athlete back there that can carry the load because this offense revolves around him.”
Hudson said his goals this season are for his team to repeat as District 24-6A champions and make a deeper run in the playoffs than last year’s first-round exit. A big hurdle to clear for, at least, that first goal will present itself Saturday when Hudson and the Chargers (3-1 overall, 2-0 in district) face a recently-struggling but still dangerous Dickinson team (2-2, 0-2).
Kickoff for the Clear Springs-Dickinson game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Challenger Columbia Stadium.