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OSU's Hudson no flunky in the classroom

CORVALLIS — If you were looking for safety Austin Hudson at the Oregon State scrimmage on Aug. 12, he wasn't there.

No, Hudson was not hurt or in the doghouse.

He was in class.

Hudson had a practicum in Salem to attend.

"You can't miss class for a practice in the NCAA, so I had my smiley face on for my 9 to 5 practicum on that Saturday," Hudson said.

Hudson might have asked to skip the scrimmage had he not been required to go to the class.

School is of prime importance to Hudson, so much so that his presence at Oregon State is due more to academics than football.

Hudson originally went to Wisconsin to play for the Badgers and got in all 14 games as a true freshman on special teams.

Gary Andersen was there, but wound up leaving. Hudson said it never felt like the right fit, so he decided to transfer to South Florida, which is close to his father's Tampa home and where he finished his final two years of high school.

He redshirted one season and played in 11 games in 2016, finishing with eight tackles.

"I was close to graduating college and I found out that my graduate degree I was going to do at USF, the program was terminated," Hudson said. "So I needed a place to go if I wanted to continue on my professional path and that was something really important to me."

Hudson began the search for a school. His first thought was Oregon State. Andersen had landed in Corvallis and the university had the right graduate program.

Hudson was also a big fan of the Rodgers brothers and he knew Gavin Andrews from their time at Granite Bay High in California.

"Gavin actually threw me in a pool," Hudson said. "I think I was going to be a sophomore and he was like a senior in high school and they had this tradition where they threw the young kids in the pool. I've always been kind of facetious, so I was like, 'Throw me in the pool, I don't care,' it was like reverse psychology (but) he just threw me in."

If the Beavers had a need at safety, Hudson thought it would be a good place to finish school.

But after receiving no response when he tried to contact the football program, he figured the Beavers were OK at the position.

His mother wasn't going to be so easily deterred. She contacted director for player personnel Vince Guinta and got a response. It turned out that they had tried to reach Andersen at an old number.

The Beavers would be happy to have Hudson.

"We ended up talking and I guess they had a couple, I think, JUCO safeties that bailed on them right before signing day and they had room and they said it was OK to come," Hudson said.

Hudson had a lot to do before making the trip to Corvallis. He took 21 units during his last semester at USF to graduate and then went through the application process to get into OSU's clinical mental health counseling program.

Then he had to get the waiver from the NCAA and plan the cross-country trip.

"It was a stressful time, so I'm just glad to be here," he said.

Getting back into the swing of things on the football field has been a slow process for Hudson.

He missed some time due to graduate classes and was sick for a while, so he's trying to catch on as quickly as possible. His experience does help, although he's not sure where he'll land on the depth chart.

"I'm just trying to get back, get better, work with the guys," he said. "I have absolutely no idea how it's going to be. I'm just looking at it as a suprise."

The Beavers move the safeties around some, so they have to be able to play close and away from the line of scrimmage. Hudson likes that versatility.

"Playing the post is really fun and playing the box and getting a chance to be like a linebacker, that's why we play safety, it's kind of the best of both worlds," he said. "We get picks, big hits, so it's a blast."

Hudson is optimistic about the team in general.

"It's a cool place to be around because there's just so much momentum in the program," he said. "It reminds me of when I first got to USF, coming off a 4-8 season but you could tell that they were going to be good and ended up two years later being 11-2. I anticipate that kind of turnaround here."