By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Naashon Hughes knew were he wanted to play college football all along.
And on Tuesday he made it official, even without an official scholarship offer on the table.
Despite outstanding offers from Baylor University, Louisiana State University, the University of South Carolina and Southern Methodist University - and serious interest from Oklahoma State and Texas Tech - sources confirm the Harker Heights High School 6-foot-4, 215-pound safety/outside linebacker prospect chose to accept a potential gray shirt opportunity when he verbally committed to University of Texas at Austin head coach Mack Brown over the phone Tuesday morning.
Attending the Longhorns' first Junior Day on Feb. 12, Hughes was the lone member of the 13-deep group to not receive a scholarship offer.
In its place, Hughes was offered a Hughes, the younger brother of new Longhorns freshman offensive tackle Camrhon Hughes, anchored the Knights secondary last season with 81 tackles, six pass break-up, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
A tweener prospect, whose large frame could facilitate a position change to anything from safety to defensive end to tight end, Hughes was told by Texas coaches that the Longhorns wouldn't sign more than one linebacker from the 2013 class based on an overabundant of talent already in UT's current linebacking corps.
And after Cy Woods linebacker Deoundrei Davis committed after receiving an offer at Texas' second Junior Day on Sunday, that doesn't leave much room for Hughes so long as he's viewed as a linebacker by the Longhorns coaching staff. But Hughes is being listed as an athlete, meaning there is still a chance he can receive a scholarship before he officially signs on National Signing Day next year.
A grayshirt is when an athlete delays his enrollment at a future college so that his four-year eligibility remains in tact until he arrives on campus during the second semester of his freshman year. The athlete, who must take less than 12 hours of classes to maintain status as a non full-time student, also cannot participate in any team activities during that first semester allowing his scholarship to count toward the next year's class.
For more on this story, read Wednesday's Killeen Daily Herald.