Hughes: "I Love The Coaching Staff"

Mike Hughes

WASHINGTON, N.C. -- There are few better football athletes in the state of North Carolina than New Bern (NC) standout Mike Hughes. He put his athleticism on display Saturday at the final Shrine Bowl combine.

There are few better football athletes in the state of North Carolina than New Bern (NC) standout Mike Hughes. He put his athleticism on display Saturday at the final Shrine Bowl combine.

Checking in at 5-foot-10 and 179 pounds, Hughes ripped off 40-yard dash times of 4.34 and 4.37 respectively. He also had a 4.27 shuttle and a 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump. The most impressive number he posted may have come on the bench press where he lifted 185 pounds a stellar 25 times.

"I've been working hard in the weight room," said Hughes, laughing.

Tracking as one of the state's top players, Hughes had a terrific junior season. Lining up at quarterback, he passed for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,100 yards and 27 touchdowns. However, college programs are mainly recruiting him to play on the defensive side of the football.

"Most of my offers are for cornerback," he said. "Some like me at wide receiver, but it's mainly corner."

Hughes holds offers from NC State, North Carolina, Clemson, ECU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Ohio State, and Louisville among others.

"I haven't been anywhere recently," said Hughes. "I have some plans, but not any direct schools yet."

NC State and North Carolina are two schools that he's been able to visit this year, and Hughes said both in-state programs are in the mix.

"I like the atmospheres at both schools," he stated. "They are close to home, and it would be like being a star in my own backyard. Plus, my family could come see me play. That would be a big factor."

NC State is recruiting Hughes to play cornerback and special teams. The Wolfpack has two of his former teammates on campus in Josh Taylor and Bra'lon Cherry, and Hughes added that he has developed a strong relationship with his recruiting coach.

"Coach Kitchings is recruiting me," he said. "We've built a strong relationship. I met him my sophomore year before we played Scotland in the semifinals. He's a great guy.

"I love the coaching staff. I've been up there a few times, and I love the atmosphere. It's great."

The plan right now is for Hughes to take more trips this summer as he starts to narrow down his list in preparation of making a decision. A potential early enrollee, he knows that he has to start focusing more on his recruitment.

"I may go to a few camps to work out, but most schools want me to just come and visit," he said. "They want me to check out the atmosphere.

"I'm still open. I'm hoping to make a list this summer. The visits will be a big factor for me when I narrow down my schools."

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