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Former Gryphon Hudgins to be honored as Elon Hall of Famer

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Rocky Mount Senior High junior Terrell Hudgins on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003 at the school. Hudgins was recently announced as a 2018 Elon University Hall of Fame inductee.

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By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The irony for Terrell Hudgins, recently announced as a 2018 Elon athletics Hall of Fame inductee, is that the Phoenix were his first scholarship offer when he was a student at Rocky Mount Senior High in the mid-2000s.

He didn't want to go, because the university of roughly 7,000 undergraduate students, he thought, was too small.

So instead he chose East Carolina University, where he entered summer training camp in 2005 with a promised chance of winning over the quarterback position.

But when he arrived in Greenville, he was shoehorned into a linebacker spot, a position he had never played before. He gave it a shot. He lasted a week.

“I talked to my parents. They said, ‘As long as you get a full-ride, you’re more than welcome to leave.’ I got my papers, got released and (former Rocky Mount) coach (B.W. Holt) helped me call Elon. They said they could make it happen,” Hudgins recalled.

“Elon was the first school that offered me anyways. The reason I didn’t go was because of how small it was. Obviously it turned out to be a blessing.”

The rest, after a redshirt year, was FCS history. A collection of catches and YAC later, Hudgins was, most notably among his handful of records — some that still stand — the all-time receiver in terms of yards in FCS history, beating out Jerry Rice.

For his stellar career, they retired his No. 19 jersey after his senior season in 2010, and, moving forward to a few weeks ago, he got the call saying he would be honored on September 8, 2018, as a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame.

“Because I had my number retired the season after I left, I figured it would happen one day but I wasn’t sitting around waiting on it,” said Hudgins, who expects to know more of the details for the ceremony in the coming weeks. “It was surprising. It was great.”

Eight years after his final collegiate snap, Hudgins, now Rocky Mount Academy’s football coach, insists he remembers and thinks less about all of the individual accolades, and more about the teammates, the classmates and the grandiose group achievements, like in 2009, when the Phoenix made the FCS playoffs for the first time ever with a 9-2 record.

“I just think more about how we went from a bad team to a team that improved each year,” he said. “Just being part of a change at Elon in general. That place was like my second home.”

Hudgins still takes the two-hour drive to Elon a few times a year during football season, and was especially tuned in this season when his old team made the playoffs for the second time in its history.

He still likes to talk about how beautiful the campus is, too, and has it somewhere in his plans to eventually head back there for good.

“I would absolutely love to work at Elon. If that’s in the athletic department, a football coach, whatever,” he said. “That’s a dream of mine, to go back to Elon one day.”

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