Travis Cross: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with West High School head coach Mike Hughes about Travis Cross, a 6-5, 270-pound offensive lineman from Plano, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Mike Hughes: Mainly his athleticism. He's got the size but the thing that I think is his biggest plus is he's an athlete.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Mike Hughes: His strength right now.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Mike Hughes: No, not really. He was consistent. He finishes blocks and takes pride in what we call pancakes, putting kids on their backs. Some linemen will get the job done adequately but he takes pride in finishing things off and putting defensive guys on their back. I guess there's a little nasty streak in him would be the right way to put it.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Mike Hughes: He's a student of the game, and like studying the game and being around coaches, he's an athlete, and I think his potential is unlimited.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Mike Hughes: I think he went down there and felt real good around (Joe) Wickline, the offensive line coach, who he's compared to our offensive line coach. I think it was just a deal where Oklahoma State is on the rise and he felt good about it, and I think he liked the coaches, so he committed early.

What type of impact do you expect him to have on the OSU football program?
Mike Hughes: Well, I'll put it this way, he's probably the second best lineman I've ever coached in 31 years. The first being a kid who was the first freshman to ever start at Notre Dame, a kid named Justin Hall back in the late ‘80s. So he's on that level, but he's lacking in his strength. I think after a year or two I expect him to make a tremendous impact on that team.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Mike Hughes: I think he's got a chance to be one of the best offensive linemen in the country, and I think he has a chance to play in the NFL.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Mike Hughes: I remember him at a very young age. As a matter of fact, as an eighth grader he would finish his middle school practice and then come watch us practice. He loved the game and was always around. He was a fun kid to around. Some kids will work out and go home, but he would come into the coach's office ... he just liked hanging around the coaches.


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