On Sunday, Harker Heights defensive athlete (what else is there really to call him?) Naashon Hughes was on Twitter very publicly feeling a long way away from being able to join his older brother Camrhon at Texas, who enrolled early this spring to get a quick start on his own Texas career. The younger Hughes was feeling like the Longhorn coaches were saying he wasn't good enough to play there.
On Tuesday morning, that all changed, as the 6-4, 215-pounder had decided to accept a greyshirt offer extended by the Longhorn coaching staff, likely some time late Sunday evening or on Monday. Harker Heights coach Mike Mullins told Hookem.com ($) that the greyshirt could become a full scholarship offer if another spot opens up during the spring due to attrition.
Mullins denied that the presence of his older brother was the main reason for Naashon's commitment, citing an overall feel of comfort at Texas. Either way, the news is the same for the Longhorns and Hughes has become the 11th commitment in the 2013 Texas recruiting class, and the fifth commitment in the last three days.
What's remarkable is that Hughes turned down offers from LSU, Baylor, and South Carolina to take the greyshirt offer from Texas and shoot down national interest from both of the Oklahoma schools and Oregon. That's some pretty elite company to beat out with a greyshirt offer.
But that's the power of Austin and this football program. And for all those opposing fans out there, don't try to act like 13-12 if a factor, because it's clearly not for these kids. With this staff in place and the previous recruiting classes, it's clear for any observer to see that Texas is on the way back and on the way back with a vengeance. These kids see that and they want to be a part of it.
Naashon Hughes (junior highlights) (via 247SportsStudio)
The same Hookem.com story indicated that the Texas staff is currently looking at Hughes as a defensive athlete, as mentioned above. He's generally listed as an outside linebacker or a safety after playing a hybrid role for Harker Heights as a junior. It's possible that Hughes could keep growing, as Camrhon is listed at 6-7 (looks closer to 6-6) and he will certainly continue to add weight to a frame that could eventually hold 260 pounds. Just call him a jumbo defensive athlete.
If all that sounds familiar, it's because it essentially describes everyone in the class except for smaller skill position guys like Jacorey Warrick and Kyle Hicks, who even provide their own versatility. Talk about a multifaceted class.
At his size, it's remarkable how well Hughes moves (again, stop me if you've head this recently) -- he's fluid, he covers plenty of ground with his movement and his height and wingspan, making it extremely difficult to run inside breaking routes when he's underneath in coverage. He can break down in space when he comes downhill as a tackler and obviously his pure size and arm length again help with his tackling radius.
It's highly difficult to make any type of projections about where he ends up, but he's so talented that if you can, you just take him and figure out all the rest later. The Longhorn staff is doing a bit more of that at the moment, in large part because that's simply what this 2013 group is dictating, but it certainly adds a slightly different element to the whole process, especially assigning numbers to a position.
Of course, it probably didn't hurt the decision-making process with the coaches that Hughes is close with his teammate Darius James, the top interior line prospect on the Texas board and a guy that staff has reportedly said could step in and play center for the 'Horns right now. After his junior season in high school.
James told Horns Nation following the Hughes pledge that he isn't planning an imminent decision, but this one only seems like a matter of time with some other trips scheduled, but no apparent serious competition for Texas, though Oklahoma is in the mix somewhere.
But really, this day is about Naashon Hughes, and it's hard not to be extremely happy for the kid after he was clearly struggling with the potential of not being able to fulfill his wish to play football at Texas. For a kid as talented as he is, not getting to do so would have been severely disappointing. Thankfully, neither fans, the coaching staff, nor Hughes himself has to worry about that any more.
Hook 'em, Naashon, and congrats.