Hughes: 'I Fell In Love With Carolina'

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. --- Minutes after Travis Hughes announced his decision and put on a UNC hat, the five-star linebacker Travis Hughes and his father, Tony, talked to about the decision ...


What put Carolina over the top?
"Overall I just felt so good at Carolina. When I came up to campus and talked to the coaches, I bonded with the players and everything. I just fell in love with Carolina. It was real tough for me to make my decision. It speaks a lot to the bond I built with Coach Davis and the staff.
"Seeing where their program is going to go to, I felt really good with them. So that's why I picked Carolina."

When did you make your decision?
"Yesterday. My brother was actually a big determining factor. My dad talked to my brother without me there and my brother and him hammered out everything and my brother felt Carolina would be the best fit for me."

Why did he think that?
"My brother is a strong believer in doing what's best for me and he was breaking down every college with my father and he's never going to steer me wrong. He had a gut feeling about them just like I had a gut feeling. He felt like for me to leave my own legacy, it's going to be at Carolina.
"Carolina and Va. Tech were neck and neck."

How did Coach Davis respond?
"Coach Davis was ecstatic, man. I told him to keep a hush-hush on it and everything but he was ecstatic. He was saying, 'I can't believe this.'
"I haven't talked to the staff yet but I know when I told Kevin Reddick he was ecstatic also. He said, 'We'll go after the national championship.'"

You mentioned comfort was a big factor throughout, what was comfortable about North Carolina?
"Everything. The drive is perfect for my family. The setting there is awesome. They have a great amount of football influence there. You can say it's a basketball school but I've been up there many times and there is a great football influence. The fans are after me really hard. My dad keeps up with the blogs very much so the fans are after me hard. Everything like that, I felt like all of what I wanted was at Carolina."

Was your decision delayed at all by the NCAA probe?

Is that no longer a concern for you?
"It is a concern, yes. A definite concern, but right now I'm just going to keep faith in it because talking to the coaches all of them feel very confident. If they weren't so confident, I wouldn't have this hat on. (Having) this hat (on) is ultimately because of how confident Coach Davis and his staff feel about the situation. Keeping up with everything, I don't think they're going to get hit too hard."

Have they talked about playing time?
"Yes, they said I have a great chance to get in there early. They're losing two linebackers in (Bruce) Carter and Quan Sturdivant so I have a great chance if I do what I'm supposed to do."

When are you going to enroll?
"Actually in the summer. I won't be able to get out of here in January or anything like that."

It seems like an emotional day for you and your family, what are you feeling right now?
"It's definitely an emotional day and everything. My brother was trying to make it down here to be here and see this and everything but he wasn't able to. I wanted to get it over with. I didn't want to stretch it out too long into January. So I wanted the coaches to have a last pitch and everything and then I'd make my decision."

Have you spoken with Curtis Grant and Demetrius Nicholson about their future plans?
"I've talked to them before and I'll definitely talk more now about future plans with them. I definitely talked with both of them about what their plans are and I have a good idea of what they want -- besides Curtis. Curtis is a hard one to figure out. But I'll definitely stay on them and see what's going on with them."

How would it be if they joined you?
"Awesome. I can't say anything more. That's awesome right there. That'd be a great trio."


What do you think put Carolina over the top?
"The fans at North Carolina are so awesome. They showed love after love for Travis. Every once in a while you'll go onto blogs and see how much the fans want him. When we went up to Carolina everybody knows him. Then the relationship he and Butch Davis have is phenomenal.
"To me when there is a head coach that shows personal interest in my son like that, I feel comfortable as a dad. Not saying that (Frank) Beamer didn't do it but...
"That recruiting class ... with Travis as a five-star, that should make them go into the top 10, a solid top 10. I feel like he could be the face of Carolina. I feel that he could add a lot to Carolina's program. With the type of linebackers they've had in the past and so forth. I think with that defense, you've got a national championship caliber squad there and I'm looking forward to as a father splitting my time between North Carolina and Maryland.
"Hopefully I'll see both of these teams in the ACC championship."

How did you feel about the NCAA situation?
"I loved how UNC handled the whole process. I loved how they handled the whole process. Coach Davis stood tall through the test of time on that. When we were up there for his official visit, it was a great official visit. None of his coaches wavered, none of his players wavered through that."
"To come out of this whole entire year with a tough schedule, to come out 7-5 and going to a bowl game, that tells me about his coaching. He re-vamped a lot of young men who were playing third string. I'm an ex-coach and ex-player and I'll tell you, that shows me what kind of coaches they have at North Carolina."
"I cut it down from 25 to five and from five to four. I did a lot of deep dives and I've asked the tough questions of coach Butch Davis and all his staff -- as well as everybody else at other colleges -- and they never broke confidence. They were consistent. You had people in North Carolina as well, throwing darts at him. You've got negative recruiting and all that but you're still getting top-notch players going there.
"The Carolina fans and Butch Davis is what got him to Carolina. So you can thank the Carolina fans for getting him there because they showed a lot of love for Travis. I think we'll have a great marriage at Carolina and he's happy."

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