Recruiting: Cowboys Offer Chicago's Hughes

Chicago high school football is pretty strong as for years it has been a recruiting backbone for the Big 10 and the nation. So it is rare that a running back walks in and starts as a freshman. Robert Hughes arrived at Hubbard High School as a freshman and has been piling up yards and touchdowns since earning a starting berth as a ninth-grader. Now a junior, heading toward his senior year, he is piling up offers including one on Friday from Oklahoma State.

"I saw that and went, 'Whoa,'" said Hughes. "That offer made my day right there. It showed me that my hard work is paying off."

Hughes has a bench press max of 350 pounds, squats 520 pounds, and has a vertical leap of 34 inches. He now has offers from Oklahoma State, Purdue, Illionois, Virginia and Michigan. A big-time athlete, Hughes says going away from home for school is not a problem.

"Going far away is not a problem," said Hughes. "I've been away from home and I have family all over the country, places like Georgia and a lot of different places."

Hughes will be a four-year varsity starter for the Greyhounds in 2006. Robert rushed for 1,000 yards as a freshman and was named all-conference. As a sophomore, Hughes rushed for 1,034 yards and received all-area honors. In 2005, Robert rushed for 1,920 yards and was named all-state and all-area by several media outlets in the Chicago area. Hughes is a "Top 10" prospect in the Land of Lincoln.

"My biggest strength is my ability to pound the ball," said the 227-pound back. "I'd like to think I'm a complete back. I can pound the ball and dominate between the tackles and when the defense starts to get tired, I could take the ball to the outside and use my speed. I also have good hands and can catch the ball out of the backfield. I'm going to be working hard on my speed in the off-season – speed, speed and more speed."

He is being recruited by OSU running backs coach Curtis Luper and said he already has a good feel for Luper.

"Coach Luper is a cool guy, the type of coach that I would like to play for," he added. "I'll text message him and he gets right back to me with the information that I want."

Hughes has another connection to Oklahoma in his high school coach Eldon Harris, who played his college ball at Langston near Oklahoma State. He said that Harris wants him to see all schools and not miss anything in recruiting, so they have a trip planned to Oklahoma this spring. Hughes said he won't hurry the recruiting process.

"I haven't made up my mind if I want to make an early commitment," he explained. "I want to make the best decision for me. I want to see each university, my peers there, the coaches, the football team, the atmosphere. I'll take my time because I don't want to be a de-commitment and be unhappy. I want this to be a good time."

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