UK Football

One of Kentucky’s top football recruits backs out of his commitment

Toledo Central Catholic’s James Hudson, right, reacted after the team’s loss to Akron Archbishop Hoban in the Ohio Division II championship game last December.
Toledo Central Catholic’s James Hudson, right, reacted after the team’s loss to Akron Archbishop Hoban in the Ohio Division II championship game last December. AP

Four-star defensive end James Hudson announced Wednesday afternoon that he is no longer committed to the University of Kentucky, a little more than nine months after becoming one of the Wildcats’ first pledges from the class of 2017.

Hudson — a 6-foot-5, 280-pound prospect from Toledo, Ohio — has picked up scholarship offers and major interest from several national powerhouses in recent weeks, and he is planning a visit to Michigan for this weekend.

Ohio State hosted Hudson for a visit last week, Alabama extended a scholarship offer the week before that, and Michigan State, Tennessee, Penn State and Miami are among the other schools that have offered Hudson.

In announcing that he was no longer committed to UK, Hudson said the Wildcats would still be under consideration as his recruitment moves forward.

“After meeting multiple times with my family and my coaches, I am rescinding my verbal commitment from the University of Kentucky,” he said. “I would like to thank the University of Kentucky coaching staff for what they’ve done. They will not be out of the picture for my choices. They definitely will be high on my list.

“I would just like to enjoy my recruiting process. This is a once in a lifetime experience.”

Hudson added that he did not wish to elaborate on his decision and would not be speaking to the media about it.

Rivals.com ranks Hudson as the No. 7 strongside defensive end and No. 211 overall prospect in the class of 2017, and he was one of UK’s top-rated commitments in a class that was ranked No. 9 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC.

UK fell to No. 11 nationally with Hudson’s decommitment Wednesday.

Former UK defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley is Alabama’s primary recruiter in that school’s pursuit of Hudson, and Ansley’s recent visit and scholarship offer to Hudson apparently did not sit well with UK’s master Ohio recruiter, Vince Marrow.

“It’s funny some coaches didn’t like recruiting Ohio, now they are somewhere else and they are all up in it. Let’s battle,” Marrow tweeted a few hours after Ansley visited Hudson in Toledo on May 5, signing off with a, “Go Big Blue.”

Ansley left UK for Alabama in February.

Hudson is also a friend and high school teammate of highly touted running back Michael Warren, who committed to UK on the same day as Hudson last July and remains pledged to the Wildcats.

Kentucky now has a total of 11 commitments for next year.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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