Hughes Still Hopes for Early Decision

Chicago Hubbard runningback Robert Hughes has gone back and forth on whether or not he would make an early decision. The big time offers that have been placed in front of him, including a recent tender from Notre Dame, have made his plans that much more uncertain.'s Allen Wallace gets the latest on where things stand.

Robert Hughes Profile

Chicago running back Robert Hughes (5-11, 227, 4.6), from Hubbard High School, said he favors Notre Dame and Illinois just slightly over Ohio State, Michigan and Minnesota. All offered.

"It's almost too close to call," Hughes said. "All of these schools have a very good chance. I'll just have to pray on it and hope I make the right decision. Right now it's really close. I'd like to decide early, but I might not.

"Notre Dame is a very prestigious school with a tremendous graduate rate and rich tradition. They put out a good team every year, have a high winning percentage, and they play on national TV. I visited unofficially there and even the fans are up-to-date on Notre Dame's recruiting," he said.

"I see Illinois going in a positive direction. The coach (Ron Zook) is really turning the program around. I went to camp at Illinois at the end of my sophomore year. They recruited a good team last year. They had commitments from good players like Chris James (wide receiver) and Isiah Williams (quarterback). I was familiar with their skills because they were from other high schools in Chicago.

"Ohio State has tradition too, and the coaching staff is doing a great job at recruiting me. They had a running back transfer out and told me about it as soon as they got word," Hughes said. "You'd never believe their Horseshoe either. Walking through the tunnel on my unofficial visit, out onto the field, the stadium was unbelievable. I could just imagine 90,000 roaring Buckeye fans filling the seats. Eddie George and other great running backs have come out of there. I believe I'm going to do the things past backs have done to go to the next level, too.

"I like Michigan's coaches, Andy Moeller (offensive line) and Lloyd Carr. They like big backs like me. Michigan has big tradition. They sent Chris Perry to the NFL.

"Minnesota also sends their running backs to the NFL. Marion Barber III is on the Dallas Cowboys now, and Lawrence Maroney just joined the Patriots. I understand Minnesota has a running back with academic problems and the other two are upperclassmen, so there would be room for me to play as a freshman," he said.

"If I don't commit before the season starts, I'll decide after taking my official visits. I might commit early if I can find a place where I could play early. I'm looking for early playing time and also tradition.

"I think one of my best strengths is my knowledge on the field. I understand down in distance. If a situation comes up when I'm running yards on a second and two, I know to put my head down and get more yards instead of losing yards by trying to go around. I want to work on my speed, because it's good to get faster and faster by stretching and running track," Hughes said.

Hughes bench presses 420, squats 520 and cleans 185x10.

He reports a 2.5 core GPA and retook his 17 ACT on June 10.

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