Hudgins was expected to compete for a starting position — or, at least, lots of playing time — as a speed rusher for the CU defense last fall. Instead, the Achilles rehab kept him working the wheelbarrow detail at CU practices last fall.
He wasn't fond of the duty, but said, "There was nothing I could do about."
After a pow wow with a doctor in February, Hudgins was cleared to practice in individual drills in spring practices, which begin today. But he won't be full go – at least for most of spring.
"I'll be doing a lot of individual stuff right now," Hudgins said early Monday afternoon. "There's a possibility I'll be ready (for full contact) by the spring game. I talked to the doctor three or four weeks ago and he said it's usually not ready for full go for a full year. So that'll be June."
Hudgins dropped 20 pounds when he was immobilized after the surgery. He's back up to 235 pounds currently, and wants to work his way into the 250-255 pound range by September. Whether that will be his final season as a Buffalo or not is still up in the air. Hudgins is appealing an NCAA ruling that says that because of prior experience at junior college, he has only one year of Division I eligibility remaining.
Whatever the outcome of the appeal, the Buffs will need Hudgins' services this fall. In a conference that more and more features passing offenses, CU lacks a proven pass rusher coming off the edge of the line. Hudgins had 19 sacks in 2006 at Highland Community College, when he admittedly played with instincts but little technique.
For now, the 22-year old is doing what he can to prepare without being able to line up and rush a quarterback in full-contact drills.
"I'm just trying to get as much out of what I can do as possible – just work on the little stuff. My stance, quick-step, and trying to get into the playbook," he said.