Former Southern Arkansas tight end Tanner Hudson has kept his spot on the 53-man roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hudson, who was promoted to the Tampa Bay roster from the practice squad late last season, was impressive during the pre-season. He caught a touchdown pass in three of the four pre-season games.
NFL teams made their final roster cuts on Saturday. Other players with local connections who were undrafted free agents were not as fortunate as Hudson.
Defensive end Immanuel Turner, a 2015 Magnolia High graduate who attended Louisiana Tech, was cut on Friday by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Running back Damarea Crockett of Camden, a graduate of Little Rock Christian who attended Missouri, was cut Saturday by the Houston Texans.
Southern Arkansas defensive back DaVondrick Lison of Arkansas City, initially picked up by the Atlanta Falcons, was cut earlier in the pre-season.
Tampa Bay first-year head coach Bruce Arians had a 3-1 record in the pre-season. The Buccaneers had a 5-11 record in 2018 and were last in the NFC South.
Tampa Bay lost its first pre-season game to Pittsburgh, 30-28, but Hudson had seven catches for 84 yards – including a touchdown with a one-handed snag.
In the Bucs’ 16-14 win against Miami, Hudson scored on a four-yard pass. Hudson also made two catches for 45 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.
Hudson did not score in a 13-12 victory against Cincinnati, but was credited with two key receptions.
Hudson scored on an 11-yard pass in Tampa Bay’s 17-15 win against Dallas.
All of Hudson’s TD receptions were thrown by the Bucs’ third-string quarterback, Ryan Griffin. Griffin will also return.
Hudson moved up from the practice squad in Week 14 of the 2018 season.
Hudson (6-5, 239) went to 2018 training camp with the Buccaneers and played in all four preseason games, recording four receptions for 45 yards. The undrafted free agent from Southern Arkansas played in 43 collegiate games and recorded 2,231 total yards of offense and 26 touchdowns, catching 143 passes. Originally a quarterback, he transferred from Memphis to Southern Arkansas after his freshman season and switched to tight end as a junior.
Turner was a tight end and defensive lineman for the Magnolia Panthers. He lettered in football and track, and received All-State and All-Region honors. He was the football team’s defensive player of the year for the 2014 season.
During his senior season with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, he made 10 tackles, 26 assisted tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and 3 sacks. During his career in Ruston, he played in 45 games, making 20 solo tackles, 38 assists, 10.5 for losses of 42 yards, and 5 sacks for 28 lost yards.
Crockett completed his junior season with Missouri in 2018. He rushed 147 times and gained 709 yards, including seven touchdowns. He had 12 receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown. During his career, Crockett rushed 380 times for 2,252 yards and 19 touchdowns. As a receiver, he had 21 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Crockett had an outstanding freshman season. He set Missouri’s freshman records for rushing yards in a season (1,062), rushing yards in a single game (225), rushing touchdowns in a season (10) and tied the school record with four rushing TDs in a single game vs. Middle Tennessee. He finished the regular season ranked sixth in the SEC in rushing yards per game (105.8).
Unfortunately, Crockett suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Georgia mid-way through his sophomore year. He did have 481 yards on 80 carries and two touchdowns, and was the first Tigers rushing back to have back-to-back 200-yard-plus rushing games.
Lison was an All-Great American Conference First-Team performer in 2018 and last season's GAC Defensive Player of the Year. The Arkansas City native concluded his 2018 regular season as SAU's leading tackler with 61 stops (36 solo), including 18.0 tackles for loss totaling 75 lost yards. His TFL total was tops in the GAC and he ranked tied for second in sacks with 6.5 for 37 lost yards. In 2018, Lison recorded at least 1.5 tackles for loss in seven games and had three games with 2.5 or more TFL.
During his stellar five-year stint in Magnolia, Lison broke the program record for yards lost on tackles for loss with 252, holds the program records in tackles for loss (54.0), quarterback hurries (25) and forced fumbles (13) and ranks second in yards lost from sacks (152).
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