McHugh was offered a scholarship by Fitzgerald. His next step was trying to hide the smile. He then went on a tour around Northwestern's campus and football facilities, before giving the word that he would be a Wildcat.
Since that sunny day in June, McHugh has held no regrets. He is excited to be a Northwestern Wildcat.
"It's been the best decision I've ever made in my life," said McHugh. "I haven't looked back on it at all. It really just feels good to go to a school that you want to go to, and fit in."
McHugh has taken visits in Evanston since his commitment, and continues to be sold on Northwestern all over again.
"When I first committed, I felt like 100 percent that this is where I wanted to go," McHugh said. "Everyone has a second thought here or there, but when I took my second official visit, then went out to the Michigan game, I realized there was no other school I wanted to be at. "It's a great atmosphere."
Since his commitment, McHugh has been in constant contact with his future teammates via social networking, namely Facebook.
"It's a great group of guys in the 2012 class that already committed," he said. "We all talk on Facebook. Everyone has basically met each other, if not at a football game, then on a visit. Everyone got along really well. It's just a really fun group of guys. I think we're going to have a fun four or five years."
McHugh recently met with NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who came to Kirkwood to visit with his family. They had dinner and discussed Mike's future at Northwestern. The visit gave McHugh reassurance that Northwestern is the right place.
"It was nice for him to go out of the way and come to my house, talk to my family," said McHugh. "It was great to know the coaches care enough to fly from Chicago to here to meet with your family and be at your house. It helped me feel like I made the right decision."
On Wednesday, McHugh will solidify his future at Northwestern by signing his letter of intent. It will be a moment months in the making and he has no doubts going forward.
"It feels great," McHugh said. "Just to get the whole recruiting process done with and move on to the next level, it's a huge relief. I can't wait to get up there and play."