Arkansas Razorback head coach Sam Pittman announced Monday that walk-on Hudson Clark, a redshirt freshman, will be put on scholarship in January.
The announcement came after Clark recorded five tackles and three interceptions in Arkansas’ 33-21 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels last Saturday. He was targeted four times in the game and allowed only one catch.
Pittman said he called Clark on Sunday evening to give him the news.
“We’re out of scholarships right now at this day, but in January we’re going to put him on scholarship,” Pittman said in an interview on the SEC Network. “I think he’s earned that and we’re awful happy to be able to do that. He was happy and excited, and probably thought in his mind, ‘it’s about time.’ We were happy to be able to give him a scholarship in January.”
Only five other Razorbacks have recorded three interceptions in a single game, the last one being Michael Grant in a 2006 matchup with Louisiana-Monroe. Clark has already surpassed Kamren Curl’s team-leading two interceptions from last season. The last Hog to record more than three interceptions in a season was Tremain Thomas, who had five picks in 2011.
With a head injury causing starting redshirt junior cornerback Montaric Brown to sit out, Clark was called upon to start the past two games for the Hogs. The former standout at Highland Park High School in Texas received praise from senior linebacker and team captain Grant Morgan after Saturday's game.
“Three weeks ago, we knew him. We knew what he could do,” Morgan said. “The kid has more confidence than anybody in the room. To be thrown out there...and do as good as he’s done, we’re not surprised by it because we see it every single day. He works his but off every single day at practice.”
The career day for Clark landed him plenty of weekly awards around the nation. He was named Southeastern Conference Freshman Player of the Week, the first Razorback to accomplish the feat since Dre Greenlaw did so in 2015. Pro Football Focus named Clark to its Defensive Team of the Week and its College Football Defensive MVP of the Week. He also received a 90.0 coverage grade and a total grade of 91.0, highest on the team, from PFF.
After Saturday, Clark is tied with seven players for No. 1 in the nation in interceptions, and he leads all freshmen in college football with three picks. He has also racked up 11 tackles and one pass deflection in three games. The Texas native has become somewhat of a local celebrity.
“Hudson Clark getting three interceptions that's incredible," Pittman said. "They've heard of him now. Three times at least."
College Football MVPs of the WeekOffense: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson QBDefense: Hudson Clark, Arkansas CB pic.twitter.com/CXqaalR3wO— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 19, 2020
With Brown likely to return in two weeks against Texas A&M, Clark will see less playing time, but it is clear that he has carved out a significant role on the Razorback secondary, which leads the nation with 10 interceptions. Both Clark and the team are buying into what the Arkansas coaches are preaching.
“[Defensive backs] Coach [Sam] Carter had been telling us all week that we had a chance to be one of the best secondaries to come through Arkansas,” Clark said. “We got a lot of picks in practice, it’s different on the field, but that was definitely a confidence booster.”
The Hogs will return to the field Saturday Oct. 31 at 6:30 p.m. in College Station, Texas. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.