Terrell Hudgins caught more passes during his collegiate career than any other Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) student-athlete in history, but it was a 44-yard reception on the opening play of the game on a sunny Saturday in 2009 that made him the all-time FCS leader in career receiving yards. Hudgins ended his career as a wide receiver at Elon University with 5,250 yards, moving ahead of Jerry Rice in that category and leaving eight other FCS offensive records in his wake.
During his storied 2009 senior season, Hudgins became the first NCAA Division I athlete to ever post four 1000-yard receiving seasons in a career and set the new FCS mark for career games with a touchdown catch at 34.
“More so than the records, I remember some of the individual catches that were so dramatic and impactful as we turned that program around,” said Elon’s then-head coach Pete Lembo, now the head coach at Ball State University.
|Terrell Hudgins’ FCS Records|
• Career Receptions (395)
• Combined Receptions in a Season (207, with Michael Mayers in 2007)
• Career Receiving Yards (5,250)
• Career Games Gaining 100 Yards or More (28)
• Career Games Catching a Touchdown Pass (34)
• Career Receptions Per Game (8.8)
• Receptions in a Season (123)
• Career 1,000-yard Receiving Seasons (4)
• Career Average Yards Gained Receiving Per Game (116.7)
Hudgins’s freshman season was Lembo’s first at the helm at Elon, where the Phoenix had won just three Southern Conference games in the previous three seasons combined. Elon went 5-6 in that 2006 freshman campaign and eventually improved to 9-3 by 2009, earning the team its first FCS playoff appearance in school history. Hudgins had 169 receiving yards and a touchdown in that game, a first-round loss to Richmond.
“He was very competitive, very confident, and he became much more of a detailed player throughout his career,” Lembo remembered. “Early in his career he was successful because of his size…over time he became a student of the game and grew in his leadership as a team player.”
A native of Rocky Mount, N.C., Hudgins was a three-year starter at quarterback at Rocky Mount High School, where he was named the North Carolina High School Male Athlete of the Year during his senior season. Traveling a few hours down the road, Hudgins quickly won the affection of the Elon community as a leader in a new era of Phoenix football.
“His charisma was contagious on campus and in the community,” Lembo said. “We used to refer to him as ‘The Mayor of Burlington’ because he was as well known as anyone in the community. As the program grew in popularity, he always understood the growing responsibility that brought with it. Terrell always represented us well, and continues to do so.”
A 2009 finalist for the Walter Payton Award, Hudgins’ other notable records include career receptions per game (8.78) and career yards per game (116.7). Elon retired Hudgins’ number 19 jersey in October 2010.
“He’ll go down in Elon football history as one of the top four or five players in some 100 years of football there,” Lembo said. “I’m very proud to say I was his coach for four years.”
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