When Naashon Hughes's brother Camrhon Hughes signed with Texas just a year ago, Camrhon talked about mixed emotions. On one hand, he was enrolling early at the school he always wanted to go to. On the other, the Hughes family had just lost their home to a fire.
But when Naashon inked with the Longhorns on National Signing Day this year, he said it came under happier circumstances. The family has rebounded, and their house is expected to be finished shortly after Naashon leaves for Texas, meaning the Hughes brothers will have a true home to come back to on breaks.
"We've come a long way," Naashon said. "Now we're back in another rental house. They're still rebuilding our old house. I think I'll be gone by the time that is actually done. We just came together stronger as a family."
While the family persevered through its struggles, Naashon got stronger on the field. Moving up into the box from his position as a pure defensive back the year before, Hughes made 74 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
"It just makes me more versatile," Hughes said of the move to linebacker. "I've already played back [at safety] and at corner. Whenever I go to Texas, I can play wherever they need me."
That Hughes takes that kind of an "do anything for the team" type attitude is hardly surprising: Hughes originally committed to Texas by taking a grayshirt offer over full offers from football powers LSU and Oklahoma. He did so by taking his brother's advice: go where your heart tells you to go.
"I felt like, at Texas, they genuinely care about you as a player and a person," Hughes said. "When I talk to Mack Brown, and I talk to all the coaches, I can tell they care about me more than just football."
Of course, that grayshirt offer was converted when Brown told Hughes he had a full offer on his official visit.
"That was just great," Hughes said. "That was the highlight of my official visit. When they told me that, I was just ecstatic. I couldn't hold it back. That was great."
And on Wednesday, Hughes was able to seal that commitment, signing a National Letter of Intent to play for the Longhorns.
"It's great to finally get this process over with," Hughes said. "Now you don't get the calls [from other schools]. It's definitely a weight off my shoulders."