Ray Hudson stepped into the registration room at the 2012 US Army National Combine with a smile on his face and an EBAL tackles title in his back pocket, but not a single scholarship offer. Back then, he was 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. Today, as of 11:30 AM, he was 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and finally, a California Golden Bear.
"Cal, I guess, more as I sat and looked at it, Cal's definitely, by far, the only school I want to be at, after everything that's happened, and everything that's turned and everything that I've been through," Hudson said. "It's definitely the school I want to go to. I went down to UCLA, and I went around with their staff and everything, and it's just not the same feel as Cal. Cal is just, it's a perfect fit."
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After one more night of sleeping on the decision, Hudson awoke this morning knowing that he was going to make the most important phone call of his life.
"I called coach [Jeff] Tedford this morning," Hudson said. "He had just gotten his knee scoped, so he was just home from the hospital. I told him that a bunch of schools had been contacting me, and that I had looked through all the schools that had contacted me, and I said that I could go to all their camps and get all the offers from them, but in the end, I would choose Cal over all of them, so I might as well just make my decision."
Hudson and his family came back to campus for the third weekend in a row on Saturday, and spoke extensively with the coaching staff as Hudson zeroed in on a decision after an avalanche of interest following his tight end MVP performance at the Oregon NFTC.
"My parents, they just really enjoyed Tedford and the coaching staff, and said that they're exactly the coaching staff that they'd want to give me to, and really see me grow up with. I felt the same way. It's a great coaching staff," Hudson said. "I was able to see some of the guys that are actually coming in, like Bryce Treggs and all those guys, they were walking around, and I just felt like it was the right thing for me to be there. It was the right time to actually get my mind set on where I want to be. Now, it is, and that's the decision I made."
Hudson moved closer to a scholarship offer three weekends ago with a strong showing at the Bears' one-day showcase camp, and then returned to campus two weekends ago for one day in pads, after which he spent about an hour running routes for 2013 four-star quarterback commit Jared Goff. Before he ran his last set of routes, Hudson earned that coveted offer.
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Still, though, Hudson wanted to make sure it was the right decision. He waited a week, went down to San Diego State and received his second scholarship offer, but when he woke up on Monday morning, he knew that there was only one place for him.
"It's a good thing to see that they were the ones who said, 'We want you, and this is the place we want you to be at,' first,'" Hudson said. "That speaks volumes that they were the ones that came out and made the first move. It's a different feeling that they came out like that. I'm really happy it happened. I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. It was the same feeling with the offer, but now that I know where I'm going and I know what's happening, it's unbelievable."