For two hours, California head coach Sonny Dykes and inside receivers coach Mark Tommerdahl sat in Ray Hudson's living room, explaining to him just what life will be like as a Golden Bear. After hearing countless others just give their versions of what it means to be a tight end in Dykes's system, Hudson and his family finally heard Dykes himself explain it.
After Dykes and Tommerdahl left, Hudson walked into his kitchen, leaned on the counter, smiled and exhaled. Home was still home. Cal was still the right place for him, as it always was.
"We just sat down and discussed everything that was going on with the program, and we went through all the academic things that are going to be going on with the Bridge program and everything, and it was just a really good talk in general," said Hudson. "We went through where I would be playing as a big receiver or a tight end coming in, and how I would be flexed out on the line and different things. They said the good thing about the offense that they do, is that they will move the offense around, in terms of the personnel that they have."
Hudson won't have much about his game that he has to change from Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill. During practice for the Cal State Game, one of the North coaches asked the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Hudson if he'd ever played pure receiver before, because of the quality of his hands. Hudson chuckled knowingly. He's only ever played receiver in high school.
"That was the appealing thing, that I'm going to be doing what I did in high school," Hudson said. "I'm going to be busting out, I'm going to be going one-on-one, I'm going to be put in that three-back set down on the goal line, and flexing me into press coverage, putting a 6-foot corner on a 6-foot-4 tight end, which is the match-up I've been doing all my life and in high school. I feel like it's natural to me, and I feel that I'll be able to really flourish in it."
Even with that pedigree, though, Hudson does know how to block effectively, and is a blue-collar workhorse inside.
"When I get there and I show them what I can do, they're going to fit the offense to the guys' talents and that's what they're going to do," Hudson said. "It was a very good conversation. My parents enjoyed it, and so did I. After everything that I've heard about them, just really getting to sit down with them, this is definitely a direction that I'm going to stick with."
In fact, it literally made Hudson breathe a bit easier.
"I sat with my parents and really took a deep sigh," Hudson said. "I smiled, happily, feeling that this was definitely the direction I'll be going."
Hudson will now make his official visit on Jan. 25, along with fellow Cal State Game selection Cameron Hunt -- who just recently made his official visit to Michigan, and is now going on an official to Ohio State before returning to California.
Hudson said the reason for going on the 25th is to help shore up the soft verbal of the four-star offensive lineman.
"Definitely," Hudson said, emphatically.
Now that Hudson has had the face-to-face exposure to the new staff, he feels he has more ammunition with which to go at Hunt and maintain his commitment, after spending time with Hunt during the week of the Cal State game.
"Somehow, it ended up, the night before the game, I had Cameron Hunt, who was on the other team, and in a different hotel, somehow, around 9 o'clock, he's in my room, so was [Jared] Goff and a bunch of the other recruits that Cal was looking at, all in my room, playing XBOX. We had a good chance to spend time together, most of that night. We were all together, and I really got to know him. Actually, as I'm talking to you, I just shot him a text, talking about the official. He and I have really come together, and it's a good thing we've got going. I'm definitely hoping that I can shore him up on the official. I'm pretty sure that he's not going anywhere. We're going to keep him there, and maybe turn him into my roommate when I'm in college."
Though good friend Jared Goff just finished his official visit, Hudson does not want to ruin any surprises for his visit by asking how it went or what the group did.
"I'm telling him not to tell me anything, because I want to do it on my own and really take in everything, without knowing what's coming," Hudson said.
Ryan Gorcey publishes Cal Sports Digest and writes about Major League Baseball for FOXSportsNEXT. Follow him on Twitter @RGBearTerritory.
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