Oct. 1, 2008
The day Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast region of the United States in 2005 is a day that sophomore offensive linemen Rodney Hudson will never forget.
Hudson's hometown of Mobile, Ala., was soaked by so much rain that he and his mom had to leave their house, the only home he had ever known. To make matters even worse for the Hudson family, he and his mom Kathleen were split up for the first time as he went to live with his grandmother and his mom moved in with one of his aunts.
Though Hudson and his mom were still in the same city, they were apart for the better part of the next six months.
"I realized at that time that I really had to help my mom make it through this challenge in our lives," said Hudson. "It was difficult but my mom had taught me to work hard throughout my life so we were able to overcome the obstacles and everything has worked out for us."
A junior in high school at the time, Hudson had to take on a job in addition to playing football and going to school to help support his family. He worked at night, after practice and on the weekends in order to help his mom make ends meet. Hudson successfully balanced all three aspects of his life as he continued to do well in school. He earned all-state first-team honors on the football field and helped repair the family home.
"My mom taught me to work hard," said Hudson. "She was always on me to do my best in everything I did. She pushed me to do well as far back as elementary school and I have been able to carry that through into college. My mom has definitely helped me get to where I am today."
Where he is today is a second- year starter on the offensive line at Florida State. He earned freshman All-America and All-ACC second-team honors in 2007 as a true freshman. He started 10 of the Seminoles' 13 games and consistently received the highest marks of all of the teams' offensive linemen from the coaching staff.
Hudson received those accolades during what he expected to be a redshirt season in 2007.
"I thought I might be able to move into the starting lineup during my sophomore season," said Hudson. "It wasn't like I thought I could come in right away and earn as much playing time as I did."
For Hudson, his preparation to be a star at the FBS level began a long time ago.
"In high school I focused on playing hard," said Hudson. "I wanted to always work hard on my technique and my footwork but I quickly learned that the techniques I utilized in high school were a lot different than in college. But playing hard is playing hard everywhere. Just like in high school when I tried to play hard, I continued to play hard in college."
Rick Trickett, the Seminoles' offensive line coach, who began recruiting Hudson when he was an assistant coach at West Virginia, noticed his work ethic when he first saw him play as a freshman. He even convinced Hudson to make a verbal commitment to play for the Mountaineers. That commitment changed when Trickett became a member of the Seminoles' coaching staff and he asked Hudson to visit Tallahassee to take a look at Florida State's program.
"His work ethic and how hard he played the game of football were the things I remembered about Rodney after seeing him play for the first time," said Trickett. "I also took away that he was a super kid and that's something I really look at when I am recruiting a player." Hudson, who began playing football when he was eight years old, has looked into the stands to find his mother's beaming face before nearly every football game he has ever played. It's rare, said Hudson, that she misses one of his games.
"I make sure I talk to her before every game," said Hudson. "The two things that she tells me are to play my best and to play as hard as I possibly can. That's the main thing she has instilled in me and that's the piece of my mom that I take into every game I play."
Hudson is considered to be one of the nation's top-20 offensive linemen for the 2008 season and is a pre-season All-ACC selection by most national publications. He gained extensive experience along the offensive front as a freshman and will utilize that experience as a sophomore to help one of the youngest offensive lines in college football
"I'm not all about the accolades," said Hudson. "If I win them, I win them. It's great for our team and it's great for Florida State. I'm just a football player who loves to play the game. I'm just a football player from Mobile, Alabama."
By Chuck Walsh Associate Director of Sports Information