Since the arrival of Tom Herman in Austin, there have been many changes around the Texas football program.
New, state-of-the-art facilities, renewed emphasis on strength and conditioning, hydration, and embodying a culture of accountability and winning. But one spot has seen significant change; quarterback.
In recent years, it seemed the position was one of constant change every offseason. With Herman, it’s now a position of strength.
Herman had Westlake’s Sam Ehlinger for his transition class. He followed that with four-stars Cam Rising and Casey Thompson in the 2018 group. In this last cycle, he snagged Port Neches-Groves four-star Roschon Johnson, who enrolled in January.
Herman secured a verbal pledge from Lake Travis four-star Hudson Card last April. The Cavaliers’ stud signal-caller was the first commit for the class of 2020. It’s appropriate seeing how Card has been leading all of his life.
It was always a dream to play for the Longhorns Card recently told Inside Texas. When Texas offered, it didn’t take long to decide. There was a mutual admiration from the UT staff and the Card family. Another goal for Hudson was garnering an spot to the prestigious Elite 11 camp, an invite-only fraternity of QBs who boasts such members as Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Ehlinger, and Clemson freshman standout and national champion, Trevor Lawrence.
Card achieved that goal.
“I really just want to get better,” said Card about his expectations at the regional camp. “Obviously I wanted to get invited to the Elite 11 too. It was always a dream of mine. I’m very excited I got that, but ultimately I wanted to get up here and get better. I wanted to be myself, not get distracted, and just play my game.”
In this offseason, Card has new goals.
“I want to get bigger, that’s one of my main things right now,” Card explained. “I’ve already gained over 10 pounds. Just getting bigger and better, faster and stronger, always trying to improve.”
Lake Travis offensive coordinator and QB coach Will Stein has seen the strides Card is making.
“(Card) has gained 15 pounds since last season,” said Stein. “He looks really good and strong. He’s got a great release. The ball has a tight spin and is very catchable. His deep ball accuracy is something I don’t think we talk enough about with him. Plus he’s a freak athlete and tough as nails.”
His mechanics have always been tight, thanks to Brad Wilson Stanfield, QB coaching guru whose helped Card since the 6th grade. Then add a former Louisville QB and UT coach in Stein to the mix, and you get magic.
“To me, throwing is more how fast the ball comes out from above your shoulder,” Stein said. “The speed of the hand and wrist snap is what makes a quick release. He’s got a natural stroke.”
Card has always had ‘it’. When he met Stanfield six years ago, the QB mechanics expert saw something special.
“Card is easily one of the best across America, there is no doubt,” Stanfield, currently coaching at Richmond Foster, told IT recently. “At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, 4.0 shuttle, and 38 inch vertical are wow. Card is consistently accurate. We put in so many hours on biomechanics and accuracy from the end of 6th through 9th grade. Those are the biggest years to me. He has always prided himself on accuracy and decision making.”
Stanfield got to see Card in action two weeks ago in Frisco at the Elite 11 regional camp from The Opening.
“When he needs to get it out quick, he gets it out quick,” Stanfield explained. “Mechanically speaking, he does shoot his gun a little early with transfer of body weight which leaves some arm lag. However his mechanics are not hampered by that, he just loses some power output and it takes a bit longer coming out in doing so at times. Also Hudson is in one of the best programs in the country at Lake Travis High School. So he is going to put on weight and get stronger. I don’t think there is any doubt the coaches at LT know what they are doing. He’ll be fine. So the mechanics will get there, the weight will get there and to top it off, he comes from an unbelievable family.”
That family atmosphere is where Hudson thrives. His mother and father, Doug and Cindy Card, had a lake house on Lake Travis and enjoyed the area. After growing up in Spring, they decided to move to Austin. Their daughter lives in Austin, and older son did at the time. When a few business opportunities came Mr. Card’s way, plus the appeal of retiring someday on Lake Travis, the move was made. It goes without saying that Lake Travis football and the school district also were enticing.
Hudson started his varsity career at wide receiver. His athleticism was too valuable as a sophomore to not utilize, and he caught 69 passes for 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He took over the reigns at quarterback for Hank Carter’s Cavaliers in 2018, leading LT to the regional finals. He threw for 3,543 yards and 50 touchdowns. More impressive was his protection of the football, tossing only four interceptions in his first full varsity stint as signal-caller. He’ll be a natural fit to the Texas offense as well.
“I feel like I’ll fit in great,” Card said about his future on the Forty Acres. “Texas takes shots down the field and aren’t afraid of running their quarterback. I’m excited to be a part of it soon.”
Before he can join Herman’s Horns in the quarterback meeting room, he’s got some unfinished business left at LT. The standard is winning titles and Card is up to the task, one goal at a time.