Mike Hughes

CB UCF

5-11, 191, #19,

Best Feet In The Draft. 

By TOM

Hughes is an elite prospect, maybe the best CB in the Draft, but he has Character Concerns. He reminds me of Marcus Peters. Elite talent who dropped in the Draft do to off the field concerns. But on the field he is feisty, tough, and twitchy. Plus, he has the ball skills that can make him a great player in the NFL. 

He does have the best feet of any Corner in this Draft. "He’s been a difference maker on our football team all year and he’s been a good teammate," UCF Scott Frost said. "We’re happy he’s here." Nobodies feet move faster than his in his pedal 20-yards downfield. 

He was JuCo kid. "A gift from God [for the football program]," Garden City CC HC Jeffrey Sims said. "He’s a future NFL Draft pick." He took the extra long road to the NFL.

He was thrown out of UNC because of a misdemeanor Assault charge. "I’ve coached high school football for 27 years and had four players go on to the NFL," his high school HC Bobby Curling said. "And Mike Hughes is, pound-for-pound, the best high school football player I have ever coached." He helped Garden City win a JuCo Championship.

He also has played RB, and returned punts and kicks. "He played quarterback for us but he could have played anything," Curling said. "I knew I needed to make sure he had the football in his hands every chance I could get. I’m not a very smart coach, but I did figure out that if I snapped it to him, he’d have it every time. He can do it all and he’s a winner." He was going to go to USC or South Carolina after Garden City, but he couldn't hold up his grades.

His JuCo coach was friends with the coaches at UCF. "Some young men make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. Our role as Junior College coaches is to help correct people and put them back on the right path. We feel like we got Mike back on course," Simms said. "Mike’s a good dude. He’s a good person. He may have put himself in a bad situation, but I think he’s grown from that and now he’s moving in the right direction." So his Character Concerns come from a fight at a Fraternity party at UNC.

And his struggle with school work. "He doesn’t talk a whole lot until you get to know him, but after that he’s one of the funniest guys around," Curling said. "He's also a hard worker, he's a leader. He does more leading by example than talking. But he'll be the first one to show up for practice and drills and everything else and he doesn’t mind extra work." He should struggle less now that he is out of school.

Last season he garnered 4 INTs, 11 PBUs, and 4 TDs (1 INT return, 2 Kick returns, and 1 punt return). He is great at running the route for the WR. Great speed, and he plays to his speed. Elite and alert in zone coverage. Could be best in Press, but his versatility in coverage is a big reason to draft him.

Great loose hips, and he has great snap in his hips breaking inside or outside in coverage. Great returner, and has scored TDs returning the ball three different ways. He is ultra dangerous with the ball in his hands in the open field. He made great clutch plays that won games. 

Hughes is the best CB who has a chance to be on the Board in the Pats range. He is a little small and slight, but still has a ton of elite traits. However, studying is not one of them. Pats need guys who study. But he is not a stupid guy, or a stupid player. In fact, he has great smarts and instincts on the field. 

He played soccer and basketball in high school, and was a track guy who ran the 100-meters and the 200-meters. "He’s a very rare combination at DB that’s got really good ball skills and also a very physical player," UCF HC Jovan DeWitt said. "He’s got twitch that allows him to adjust and cover routes, but he’s got the ability to go play the ball when it’s in the air. He’s a pretty physical player." He plays to his track speed on the field.

He struggled in school, but he has those football smarts that you can't teach. "It kind of came easy to him," his teammate Richie Grant said. "I’m still kind of learning it, but Mike caught on real quick. I was really impressed by that." He is known as one of the hardest workers in practice. 

Hughes Vs Auburn: 

He pedals back in the Zone, and watch how he instinctually floats back to the sideline when the WR behind him curls outside. He just knows where he is (:01). He gives no space for the QB to throw into, even though he never turned to run with the WR (:08). Watch the best feet in the Draft moving backwards (:13). He also is great moving half turned back to watch the QB (:17). It always amazes me how the great CBs can flow backward, not give up any space for the QB to throw into, while looking backwards at the QB and not the WR.  

I think he is smaller than Peters, but he looks like him moving backwards here (:23). Watch how his feet almost danced as he shifted side to side in front of the WR (:29). He will back off run defense sometimes. But he attacked the RB there, and made the spectacular tackle (:37). Watch the great feet moving backwards. Then the snap outside with his great hips to blanket the WR down the sideline (:43). Here he is in deep Off coverage (:49). Watch how fast he comes up to hit the RB in the backfield.

He is so good at protecting the sidelines (:59). I just love the way he moves on the field. I think he is the best mover in this Draft (1:04). I love him in finesse press. He didn't give up an inch (1:17). And sometimes, just sometimes, he gets physical at the line, LOL. He has that crazy strong (1:25). I just love his feet and hips moving backwards (1:32). He will fight on the edge to protect the sideline from runners (1:38). It amazes me how quickly he moves from backwards to forwards (1:46). Then he shoots at the RB, and goes low to take out his feet.  

Love him in Press. Watch the elite hip snap here (1:54). This is why team will draft him. He is one of the best in finesse press I have ever seen (2:05). Watch the great feet, hips, and speed to turn and run with the Auburn WR down the sideline. He got himself in better position to get the ball than the WR. He turned the WR into the CB, and he had to foul Hughes to stop him from intercepting the ball.

Hughes Vs Auburn:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w8nkaAIkbI

Hughes Vs Maryland: 

He turned so easily and ran down the sideline like a shadow. Then he stopped and came back as quick as the WR (:01). He gives up nothing going down the sideline. You cannot cover any better than that (:09). Watch the feet tippity-tap inside on the fake. Then he shifted effortlessly down the sideline again without any room for a football to fit between the two, never mind throw into (:18). He played Off, or the over zone (:26). You can see he picked up the deep WR on the that side. You can see that he understands more complicated zone coverages. But you draft this kid early to put him in press. Putting him in a Zone heavy scheme would be a waste of his great talent.

Just a waste of his talent, but he can mix up coverages like the Pats like to do (:34). Watch the quick feet moving backward. Then the quick burst forward. When you dive at feet too much, you will get beat (:44). Watch him hop, bop, and weave in front of the WR to take him out of his pattern before it started (:51). He won games with punt and kick returns, but this was my favorite play I saw him make (1:07). He pedaled back. Then saw the hand off and the RB charging outside. I don't care what his size is or says, he is crazy strong and it doesn't matter. Watch him take on the blocking WR, and shove him right off his feet onto his butt, lol. Then he jammed his shoulder pad right into the RB's gut. That is as good as it gets protecting the sideline. 

Watch the hips as he turned and ran with the WR (1:14). Watch the shuffle as he side-saddled down field watching the QB. Then the quick burst to cut off the pattern before it started (1:22). He gives up nothing down the sideline (1:30). He is so consistent protecting the sideline from the Streak or deep fade.

Watch how quick he burst forward out of the zone coverage. Then the strength to stone the WR with his shoulder pad, and the feistiness to stop him cold (1:37). Not a fan of putting him in Off (1:44). Get some press up in here. Watch the great feet, and the hips. as he turned the wrong way. But spun all the way around to still give up nothing (1:50). He switched to the deep guy again (2:05). He got beat inside, as all Corners will (2:14). But watch the hip snap inside, and the recovery speed to close him down. 

He played primarily on the QB's right, but he did switch over the other side sometimes, when a team hid their best WR on the other side. See how he protects the sideline (2:24). He goes into deep Off in the blow out against DJ Moore, and just kept him from getting the First (2:33). He had to play it soft, but when Moore made the mistake he bounced (2:40). He has that knack for the big plays at the end of games.

Hughes Vs Maryland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxZrVyx7NCg

Hughes' Official Bio:

JUNIOR 2017: First Team (CB) and Second Team (Return Specialist) All-Conference in The American. Three-time The American Player of the Week (10/16, 10/30, 11/27) honoree. Named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll on 10/2. Started 11 of 12 games as a cornerback. Returned 16 kicks for an average of 34.1 yards and two touchdowns and 13 punts for an average of 232 yards and one touchdown. Totaled 44 tackles, including 32 solo and 0.5 for loss. Paced team with 11 pass breakup and added four interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
Game By Game 2017: FIU 8/31: Forced a fumble, broke up three passes, notched two tackles and returned three punts for 50 yards and one kick for 17 yards. At Maryland 9/23: Brought back an interception 57 yards for a touchdown, contributed three tackles and 21 return yards on one kickoff opportunity. Memphis 9/30: Returned an interception 35 yards and added two breakups; registered 39 return yards on three chances. At Cincinnati 10/7: Recorded 78 kick return yards on three opportunities and added five tackles, including three solo. ECU 10/14: Returned three punts for a total of 118 yards and a 66-yard touchdown and added one pass breakup. At Navy 10/21: Brought back three kickoffs for 89 yards, one punt for 11 yards and contributed four unassisted tackles and one breakup. Austin Peay 10/28: Returned a kickoff 91 yards of a touchdown and tallied three tackles. At SMU 11/4: Totaled three unassisted tackles and one pass breakup. UConn 11/11: Registered an interception, one kickoff return for 20 yards and two unassisted tackles. At Temple 11/18: Returned a pair of kickoffs for 65 yards and added six tackles, including five solo. South Florida 11/24: Totaled 124 kick return yards, including a 95-yard game-winning touchdown, 28 punt return yards, an interception and two pass breakups. Memphis 12/2: Posted six tackles, including three solo, and 22 kick return yards.
GARDEN CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (2016): Earned National Junior College Athletic Association First Team All-America honors. Ranked fifth on the Broncbusters with 47 total tackles in 11 games. Recorded two interceptions
Broke up six passes. Returned kicks and punts, taking three back for touchdowns
.
NORTH CAROLINA (2015): Saw action in 11 games as a true freshman. Recorded 10 tackles and broke up three passes. Returned one kickoff for 40 yards.

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