On January 12, former Central High offensive lineman Lyndell Hudson Jr. announced his intentions to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft. He played center and tackle for the Bears from 2014-2018 and spent most of his college career at FIU before bringing his talents to the Florida Gators in 2023. In a post on X/Twitter, the redshirt senior thanked God, his family, and his coaches for the opportunity to play for the various organizations.
“FIU and Florida have played pivotal roles in shaping me both as a man and as a football player, providing me with invaluable lessons, experiences, and a community that feels like home,” Hudson Jr. said. “I would like to thank Coach Davis and Napier for both giving a small-town kid from Brooksville, Florida a chance to play at the Division 1 level. To all my teammates, and Gator nation, I would like to thank you.”
Hudson always loved football as a child and his father, Lyndell Hudson Sr., coaches football at West Hernando Middle School. The younger Hudson was simply larger than everyone else when he came to Central in 2014. He just needed a little more physical preparation before he could become a road-grating offensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference. That would involve him losing an immense amount of weight, which he did. Before his senior season, Hudson dropped nearly 100 pounds to get below the 300 mark. The passing of Central’s Coach Buck also appeared to have an effect on the lineman, noted former Central Football Head Coach Christopher Sands. The tragic loss of his coach just before his senior year served to fuel his motivation and drive to succeed.
“I think the biggest milestone in his high school career was going into his senior year,” Coach Sands said. “I remember getting videos from him and his dad of him just running on the treadmill in garbage bags just to lose weight because he knew he needed to drop his weight to maximize his recruitment. Once he started losing that weight, I think that was the biggest turning point in his high school career and when I realized he had a chance to be really special.”
According to Florida Football’s website, Hudson started a total of 26 games for FIU between 2020 and 2022 and was even named to the PFF Week 5 Team of the Week in his final season with the Panthers. During his time with the Florida Gators, the right tackle played in seven games and logged a pair of starts in their victories over Charlotte and Vanderbilt.
Florida Football’s website also states that the lineman threw discus and shotput in addition to playing basketball at the high school level. Despite being recruited as a two-star out of Central, he combined hard work with proper use of the transfer portal to be able to potentially play in the NFL. According to his former coach, once Lyndell puts his mind to something, he is going to make it happen. His story has been one of perseverance and determination and Hudson hopes to add another chapter to that in late April.
“It is a testament to his family, all the morals and the groundwork they laid for that kid growing up,” said Coach Sands. “Now he is a grown man, has an opportunity to go play on Sundays and that is all that he could ask for.”