An experienced player out of Oregon State, CB Brandon Hughes spent the last four seasons under the guidance of former Chargers head coach Mike Riley. He started 40 games for the Beavers and earned multiple PAC-10 honors in the process.
Hughes (5-foot-11, 181 pounds) and teammate Keenan Lewis made up one of the best cornerback tandems in all of college football.
CB Brandon Hughes
"Oregon State will greatly miss [Hughes] and Lewis," Phillips said. "The Beavers relied on Hughes to handle a receiver one-on-one, which allowed them to do more with safeties and 'backers in other areas."
Hughes racked up 278 tackles, 27 pass breakups and three interceptions during his career in Corvallis. He proved to be consistent in coverage and a reliable wrap-up tackler, two traits that appealed to San Diego.
Phillips acknowledges that Hughes' limited speed (4.5 40-yard dash) will be more of a hindrance in the NFL, but he has other positive attributes that make him a valuable player.
"He's good at shutting down a receiver before it gets to the point of him being in trouble," Phillips said. "He's physical and he plays the run very well."
Hughes rarely beats himself and boasts a complete understanding of the game. A starter for the majority of his career, he is also a very durable player.
Phillips believes Hughes is capable of contributing immediately and emerging as a starter down the line.
"He can develop into a shutdown corner at [the NFL] level in a similar way he did at the college level," he said.
--To see SDBoltReport.com's exclusive interview with Brandon Hughes, click here.
--To see what OSU corners coach Keith Heyward told us about Hughes, click here.