Travis Hughes, a five-star linebacker from Virginia Beach (VA), was thoroughly impressed with his official visit to Clemson this past weekend.
"Clemson was awesome. We had a great time. Me, my dad and granddad went. "
"We got there Friday and we had dinner with the team and we went to the basketball game, actually."
The highly-touted linebacker has narrowed his list to Virginia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina and Clemson. His father Tony Hughes told us "Clemson is different than the rest," and Travis agreed.
"It felt like I was at home. The people there are more friendly than any other place I have been to. It was the closest feeling I got to North Carolina so far. It seemed like the best of both schools - Virginia Tech and North Carolina."
"The game was fun. It was an electric crowd. It's like a Virginia Tech feel, but might be more intense than Tech. It was my first time at an 8 PM game. The streets were packed around 12. They start tailgating early there. It was crazy."
Unlike most visits, Hughes got to soak up a full weekend with the Tigers.
"I just got to spend more time with them than any other official. I got there Friday and got to spend time with the team. We went to some of the diners and got to see the history of all the places. We went to a place called Mac's – I guess a lot of football players used to go there. It was a hole in the wall place but really nice."
Hughes, the fourth-ranked linebacker in the country, says playing time is crucial.
"They have a legit D-line. It's about playing time there - a chance to play earlier."
His father told me yesterday it comes down to who will take him to the next level. Travis expressed extreme confidence in Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
"I am thoroughly impressed with him (Coach Steele). The coach is so impressive. He has a track record about him that is amazing. The people he put out is just awesome - some of the best linebackers. He puts out a lot of boys. He has an awesome track record and seems like the type of guy that inspires me to play good. He was really inspirational."
Clemson seems to have everything he is looking for but Hughes says the Heels and Terps still have his heart.
"I can probably put them (Clemson) like third. I love North Carolina right now. I love Maryland- they are really close to me. Virginia Tech is still high. Those four are really strong with me now."
On Clemson vs. North Carolina:
"Compared to Clemson, the thing about UNC is they got a feeling like Clemson - the fans are there but not as much as Clemson. Clemson is a much bigger venue but UNC is still a good program. Coach Butch Davis is a great person. Out of every coach I talk to, I keep in contact with him more than anyone. He is calling me up every week. My recruiting coordinator doesn't call me but Coach Davis calls me."
5-star Hughes' Take on Clemson
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