In many classes, coaches prefer to take players who are tremendous size-speed athletes and teach them how to play football, either in general, or just at a different position than they are used to. And it's against that backdrop that the Longhorns landed Naashon Hughes, the linebacker from Harker Heights and the younger brother of current Longhorn offensive tackle Camrhon Hughes.
When Naashon first received his grayshirt offer from Texas, it was an understandable proposition. Here was a guy with a great frame who could run, but who played a deep, almost centerfield safety position for his high school team. It was difficult to tell what kind of football player he'd become.
But then Hughes came to Texas's camp at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, and he ripped off a 4.44 40-yard dash. And he spent this entire season at a more natural position of linebacker, making more of an impact and showcasing just how tantalizing that size/speed combination can be.
Hughes is still working at his new position, and his instincts could use work. He doesn't always diagnose correctly, and he either hesitates or takes false steps too often. But put him in man coverage, and he can perform in that role better than most other outside linebackers. And ask him to blitz the quarterback off the edge, and even though he doesn't have an assortment of pass-rush moves, his blazing speed is more than a handful for the average tackle.
Hughes will start his career at outside linebacker at Texas, and if he can grasp the nuances of the game, he has a chance to be an outstanding player. Because there are few players out there who have his natural gifts.