ANN ARBOR, Mich. – To play viper in Don Brown’s defense takes a lot of “heart,” says sophomore Khaleke Hudson.
And, well, he’s up for the challenge.
“It’s a position where you have to have heart,” Hudson said, when asked to describe the position qualities. “You have to have heart to be able to play in the box. You have to have heart to be able to cover the receivers. It’s a position where you can be all over the field. You can be at safety. You can be at linebacker. You can be in the slot. You can have a lot responsibilities and just work hard at it, and you’ll be fine.”
Hudson has been playing the majority of his reps this spring at Viper, as Michigan searches for its replacement for Heisman trophy finalist Jabrill Peppers and all his intangible he brought to the position.
Peppers, of course, brought a rare blend of speed and athleticism to the viper role. Hudson, who stands at 6-foot, 210-pounds, compares to Peppers physically, but was quick to note he’s not trying to be like U-M’s former star.
“I don’t feel no pressure,” Hudson said of Peppers. “Jabrill was a great player and everything. But I’m just looking forward to being the best Khaleke I can be. Everyone is asking about how it feels about replaces Jabrill. But I’m just going to take it in and play the best I play, and be the best Khaleke and just work hard and do everything top notch 100% everyday.”
While most of his reps have been at viper this spring, Hudson has been also been rotating at safety and viper with Josh Metellus.
“Right now I am more at viper but I’m also going back and forth at safety with Josh Metellus,” Hudson said. “Just keeping the balance, it’s a good thing for both of us just in case something happens, either one us can step into the spot."
Adding: “Wherever I fit in is where I’ll be at,” he said. “Wherever I feel most comfortable, it don’t matter where the position is at as long as I’m helping my team win in any way.”
Michigan plays its annual spring game on April 15 at 1 p.m.