Hughes Keeping Options Open

Terps hope that a family connection will make this 2011 prospect a Terp.

Travis Hughes is certainly getting to see the east coast this summer as he has spent the past few months traveling to and from camps and schools along the coastline. But that’s the life of a five star recruit these days, and Travis hasn’t really let the stress get to him. While he has made it clear that North Carolina is his current leader, Hughes is definitely keeping his options open.

The 5th ranked linebacker on has named Maryland among his list of top five schools which includes Clemson, Virginia Tech, UNC and LSU. Yet there’s another school threatening to crack the top 5. “While those are my top five schools I’d like to add that Virginia is making a good push too. I just recently visited there and I liked it a lot. I got to talk to a lot of coaches and I was really impressed by Charlottesville”, Hughes said. One can notice a bit of continuity when glancing at his top five or six schools. That’s because five of these six schools play in the ACC. “There are definitely some things I love about the ACC,” said Hughes. “I feel the ACC is one of the most competitive conferences, right up there with the Pac-10 and SEC.” Hughes was also quick to point out that the contract the ACC has recently signed with ESPN is also very enticing to a young recruit like himself. But, perhaps most importantly, the ACC schools would be in closer proximity to his Virginia Beach, VA home than would other schools that recruited him such as Oregon and USC.

Maryland however, has something in its football program that none of Travis’ other top schools can offer: a family member. Trent Hughes, an upcoming redshirt junior DB for the Terps has began to make a name for himself in College Park and has given younger brother Travis some brotherly advice. “He’s not trying to push me towards Maryland just because he plays there. I sat down with him and he went through the pros and the cons of playing at Maryland just as I’ve done with others when discussing other schools. Trent has encouraged me to do what is best for me, and that’s what I love about him. My brother is my best friend and I’d love to play football with him.”

At 6-2 and 220 pounds, you would think that Travis is purely a power player. Yet this LB/HB double threat is a rare combination of size, speed and power. Having both played football and run track since the age of 5, Travis has been working on his speed most of his life. With a current 40 time of 4.5 Hughes feels that at the high school level his speed is, “pretty dynamic” and is certainly grateful for being so physically blessed. In fact he has been so impressive at both running back and linebacker that a few schools such as Virginia, UNC and Virginia Tech have given him the option of potentially playing both positions at the college level, but his heart is at linebacker. “I grew up as a defensive maniac thanks to my Dad. He used to pop in tapes of (Dick) Butkus and (Lawrence) Taylor, and I would love to just sit there and study the way they played.”

Seeing as his brother has been a member of the Terps team for the past three seasons, Travis has made his share of trips to up to College Park. “I’ve been to College Park many times and I just love everything about the campus,” said Hughes. “When I went up last time I got to see the students around the school and on the huge lawn in the middle of campus, and it was pretty awesome.” Hughes last visit to College Park was this past spring as he made the trip to both look at the football program and university as well as to watch his brother play in the annual spring game. While he was up there to get a better feel for the football program he did quite a bit of talking with the coaching staff. “I talked to Coach Don Brown (Defensive Coordinator) and Coach Al Seamonson (Linebacker Coach) the most, considering I’m being recruited as a linebacker. But I also talked to Coach Friedgen and Coach Tom Brattan (O-Line Coach) who recruited my brother Trent to come to Maryland.”

Having nearly doubled both his rushing yards and his tackles from his sophomore to his junior season, Hughes is looking to improve his game even further this off-season before making a commitment mid-season. “I would like to get all of my official visits in first. I also want to see a lot of the teams I’m looking at play this year because I feel a lot of the teams are in the same boat and I’m anxious to see how they perform. After I see everything, then I’ll feel confident in pulling the trigger and making my choice.”

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