Heels On Top for Hughes

For much of his recruitment, North Carolina has been Travis Hughes' top school. The five-star prospect took an official visit to Chapel Hill over the weekend to get a closer look.

"Right now, they are my top school – for real," Hughes said. "Talking to the fans, talking to Coach [Butch] Davis, and talking to the players [sold me on that]."

Regardless, Hughes, a 6-foot-1, 228-pound linebacker from Virginia Beach (Va.) Kempsville, is unsure when he'll make a verbal commitment.

"I want to make sure I make the right decision," Hughes said. "… I felt really good about North Carolina. But I might need to research a little bit more. I might take a few more unofficial [visits] after my officials."

Hughes has previously taken official trips to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He'll finish his official visit schedule with trips to Clemson this weekend (versus Maryland) and Virginia on the weekend of Oct. 30 (versus Miami).

Hughes says he doesn't believe the NCAA investigation at UNC will have any affect on his recruitment.

"Talking to Coach [Butch] Davis about everything that happened, some players really messed up," Hughes said. "But I'm thinking right now, as long as [UNC] doesn't get hit with anything long term, I don't think it affects my decision."

Hughes has made countless visits to Chapel Hill in the past. Regardless, his UNC official visit didn't fail to provide him new experiences.

"My last game there was [when UNC played] Georgia Southern," Hughes said. "It was a pretty good game and everything, but it wasn't anything compared to the Clemson game. You see the fans there – the sellout and everything. Wow.

"I was watching the Old Well Walk and I got approached by fans that know me by name. I didn't have a name tag or anything on.

"North Carolina is supposed to be a basketball school. But they get fan support like that [for a football game]. And I saw it after the game with how dedicated the fans are to the players."

After arriving Saturday morning with his father and grandfather in tow, Hughes toured some dorms, met with a sociology professor, and had lunch.

"I had the biggest steak you've ever seen," Hughes laughed.

Hughes then arrived at Kenan Stadium where he quickly spoke to several UNC coaches before watching the Tar Heels defeat fellow finalist Clemson, 21-16.

"The game was explosive – for real," Hughes said. "It was a really good game. The fans were live. It was a really hard-nosed game."

Following the game, Hughes ate dinner with the UNC's coaches and then hung out with several players, including host Kevin Reddick, Quan Sturdivant, Bruce Carter, Tre Boston, and Johnny White.

"Everybody is humble up there," Hughes said. "I got a really good feel for the players. All the players were really cool. They told me their prospects and what they thought about the school right now and where they were going to be headed."

On Sunday morning, Hughes ate breakfast and then watched film with Art Kaufman, UNC's linebacker coach.

"He showed me what he does with the LBs and what roles they have in the game," Hughes said. "I saw the plays they were making and the LBs were covering the field pretty well."

Later that afternoon, Hughes met with members of the academic support staff, sat in on a linebacker meeting, and received a campus tour.

Before leaving UNC, Hughes had a meeting with Davis in his office.

"My dad was asking some hard questions," Hughes said. "And Coach Davis was knocking them out of the park – for real, eye-to-eye, man-to-man. [Davis] really didn't back down on anything.

"[Davis] talked really strong about the situation they were in. He told me he was going to be there. I felt really good on all of that."

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