Hudson's Happy to be Back Playing Again

<B>Raleigh, NC --</b> The season opener against Richmond is drawing near and probably no player on NC State's team is more anxious to hit the field than defensive back Marcus Hudson.

Hudson was academically ineligible in 2003, and the Wolfpack missed his presence in the defensive backfield. Back in the mix this fall, he remembers last year when his status remained unclear as the season loomed.

"It was hard last season because I was waiting on the school to determine if I would be eligible or not," Hudson said. "That's the biggest difference now because I know my grades are good, and I can concentrate on just playing. Now I'm just real happy."

Marcus admits that missing last season was tough on him, but it also served as a wake-up call.

"It helped me a lot," he said. "I got my mind focused and now I'm buckling down on life in general. I was playing around and taking everything as a joke. That's how I slipped up with my grades. I really spent more time in study hall than in meetings and that helped."

Rover Andre Maddox, a two-time All-ACC selection and the Wolfpack's leader on defense, is happy to have Hudson back and believes his versatility will give NC State some intriguing options.

"He's a great cover man and he's going to be an excellent nickel back in a lot of our coverages," Maddox said. "He's one of the best covers on our team, and I don't think he's going to miss a beat when the season starts."

Hudson focused exclusively at cornerback during his first two seasons, picking off four passes including a memorable interception and 100-yard TD return against the Duke Blue Devils his freshman year. Now with added depth at cornerback, NC State has him playing at free safety, and he's starting to enjoy it.

"I'm liking it now," Hudson said. "During the spring I was kind of shaky about playing safety instead of corner, but now I'm looking at it from another perspective. I have more range on the field, and I'm not just isolated on one side of the field."

"It's a good thing because I can be all over the field, and they have me playing nickel," he added. "So that gives me some corner playing time where I can come up and play man-to-man."

In nickel packages Hudson's versatility can really be noted. He's able to play physical with slot receivers, while also serving as an added defender against the run in those situations.

"Oh, I like that," he said. "If I'm not covering the slotback than I become a linebacker. [Laughing] I really don't get that chance too much, and it makes me feel like a big man on the field."

Whether it's at cornerback, free safety, or even as a rover/linebacker, Marcus Hudson's return should pay huge dividends for the Wolfpack defense. His experience, intensity and passion for the game could be what NC State's defensive backfield lacked last year.

"[Hudson's return] means another experienced football player who has been in big battles and in big games," Wolfack Head Coach Chuck Amato said. "He's very confident and brings enthusiasm to that side... which is so important on defense."

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