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Texas OL recruiting: Horns should offer Chris Hughes

Family connections to the Longhorns program are hardly the most compelling reason to enter the recruitment of the jumbo athlete.

Chris Hughes working out in Dallas
Chris Hughes working out in Dallas
Student Sports

The Texas Longhorns don't have many in-state offensive line offers out to uncommitted prospects, but offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline should make a move on a versatile athlete with a familiar name -- Harker Heights jumbo athlete Chris Hughes.

Ranked as an offensive tackle by 247Sports, Hughes has borderline size for the position at 6'3.5 (though he's as tall as former right tackle Trey Hopkins), but he has excellent movement abilities that help him project favorably as a pulling offensive guard or a disruptive defensive lineman capable of playing three-technique defensive tackle once he gains weight or further outside in the three-man lines that head coach Charlie Strong prefers to combat spread offenses.

The younger brother of Texas offensive tackle Camrhon Hughes and Fox end Naashon Hughes, Hughes burst onto the scene in a big way when he earned offensive line MVP honors at the Dallas The Opening regional camp back in March when he looked as impressive or perhaps even more impressive than five-star offensive tackle Greg Little and four-star offensive tackle Jean Delance.

To see his final three reps at the camp, skip ahead to the 1:15 mark.

With quick feet  to pass set against speed rushers, long arms, and impressive balance and flexibility sitting in his cylinder, Hughes rarely lost reps on the day.

He also tested well, turning in a 5.03 40-yard dash, a 4.41 shuttle, and a 32-inch vertical leap. At only 259 pounds, he will need to gain a significant amount of weight, but 2014 Texas signee was a similar weight as a junior in high school and is now up to almost 300 pounds after a redshirt season. And older brother Naashon is now about 30 pounds heavier than he was at a similar point in his own development.

Unfortunately for Hughes, the performance in Dallas hasn't translated into a flurry of offers, but he did pick up one from Texas Tech three days later and should start receiving more attention during the spring evaluation.

If there's one lesson about Wickline through his first 16 or so months on the job, it's that he's not afraid to pursue underrecruited prospects, with junior college transfer Brandon Hodges standing out as a player who didn't have any big offers before Texas, but saw his recruitment take off, eventually earning a fourth star from Scout.

The point here isn't that the Longhorns should add another legacy to the program -- Hughes deserves an offer on his own merits. And he is receiving some interest from Texas, visiting for the Orange-White game on Saturday.

Make that call, coach.