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Hudgins signs with Grizzlies

By Grant Guggisberg

As one of the top pass-rushers in the Centennial League a season ago, Chris Hudgins was one of several Manhattan High football players exploring all his options to continue playing at the next level.

In signing with Butler County, Hudgins will join one of the most talented teams at the junior-college level, with the hopes of finding a Division-I school as a junior.

“First and foremost, I want to get my education,” Hudgins said. “But when it comes to sports, I put my whole heart and soul into it. So if I can go past playing community college football and play at the Division-I or Division-II level, I definitely want to do that.”

Hudgins said after taking a visit as a junior, Butler was always the favorite, even as he continued to explore other options.

“I went on a visit to Hutch and to Garden City and Fort Scott,” Hudgins said. “There was nothing wrong, I couldn’t say anything bad about those schools, but I just liked Butler right from the get-go. So that was my choice.

“I know Butler’s a great school, they’ve got great history. I loved everything about it, from when I went there for my junior-day visit in the summer, and then again when I went on my official visit just a few weeks ago. I loved the school and I love the fact that I’ll be around people that I know and have great team camaraderie.”

Hudgins will likely make the switch to linebacker after a solid senior season at defensive end for the Indians.

“At first, I was recruited as a defensive end, but throughout time and evaluation of film, I’d be projected as a tight end, running back or linebacker,” he said. “Throughout playing football over all my years, I’ve learned that linebacker would be something I could definitely grow into. Ultimately, it is the coach’s decision on what position I play, but I suggested it and got lucky with that decision.”

Hudgins also played basketball for Manhattan, using his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame and explosive athleticism to play alongside guys who were often bigger and taller.

Following his senior football campaign, Hudgins said he talked with Kansas State about a walk-on position, but decided he would be better served with the chance to play right away at a community college.

“K-State talked to me right after the football season,” Hudgins said. “But it was a walk-on position — not that I didn’t want to walk-on — but I felt like community college would give me that extra step before I decided on where to go next.”

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