Elizabeth High's Hughes Opening Eyes

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Elizabeth (N.J.) High running back Elijah Hughes made quite a name for himself during the New Level Athletics 7-on-7 last month on the Rutgers campus. He showed his athleticism and speed while becoming one of the players to watch coming out of the camp. Hughes spoke about his recruitment, and why it may be started off slow.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Elijah Hughes took a handoff, broke to the outside and 35 yards later he was in the end zone.

Happens all the time? Yeah …but not in a 7-on-7 passing competition where players are downed with a simple touch.

The 5-fot-7, 165-pound Elizabeth (N.J.) High star made quite an impression late last month at the New Level Athletics event, and his next step is trying to parlay his performance there into a scholarship offer.

A handful of schools have already been in contact with Hughes, and more could come.

"I'm hearing from Minnesota, Rutgers, Syracuse, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia Tech and Temple," Hughes said. "Maybe I have to go to more 7-on-7s to get my name out."

Hughes totaled more than 1,000 yards of offense and had 20 touchdowns last season, but one of the reasons his recruitment is slow can be traced to his poor start to his junior season.

Of course, there are reasons for it.

"We had to get used to our coaches," Hughes said. "They didn't come in until summer camp, late in the summer, and they were throwing everything at us. I was playing out of position. I was playing receiver, and then they moved me to running back."

It wasn't until Hughes' cousin, and Elizabeth sophomore quarterback P.J. Walker, went to the coaching staff midway through the season and suggested Hughes move back to running back, where he played as a sophomore.

"In summer camp I ran a 4.3 flat," Hughes said. "So, they said they were going to send me on streaks and stuff, and that wasn't working. Then my cousin told them I was a running back."

Hughes said he was hand-timed at 4.30 seconds in the 40-yard dash and he ran a 6.59 to finish second in the Central Jersey Group IV 55 meters last month.

"I was supposed to run in the Meet of Champions, but I love football so much so I came (to the NLA event)," Hughes said. "I just wanted to go to football."

Hughes said he is hoping to visit the Rutgers campus in the spring. Other than the 7-on-7, Hughes said his only visit to Rutgers was to play a Pop Warner game.

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