Naashon Hughes knew he had to go into the year with a different mind-set. He had something to prove.
Only offered a greyshirt by the University of Texas in the summer, Hughes set out to earn what he believed he deserved — a full scholarship.
Hughes and Belton tight end Durham Smythe were named to the 62nd Annual Collin Street Bakery/Texas Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A All-State first team Friday along with 10 other area athletes.
“It’s my first time receiving that award, so it’s a blessing getting another award for my senior season,” Hughes said. “This year I knew I had to go out and show the Texas coaching staff that I was worthy of a scholar ship, so I went into the season with that mind-set.”
Hughes, who signed with the Longhorns on National Signing Day, helped lead the Knights to their first playoff appearance since 2006, finishing with 74 tackles (36 solo), 19 for loss, two fumble recoveries and a single-season school record 7 sacks.
Smythe, the nation’s No. 6 tight end according to ESPN, was a District 8-5A first teamer and despite early season injuries, finishing fifth in 8-5A with 36 catches for 547 yards and six touchdowns. Smythe signed with Notre Dame.
Shoemaker running back Johnny Jefferson, a the Baylor signee was named to the second team after running for 739 yards and nine touchdowns in Shoemaker’s three nondistrict games and finishing his prep career with 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior season.
Honorable mentions included a trio from Temple in quarterback Zach Allen, linebacker Dominick Thompson and offensive lineman Freddie Johnson.
Killeen also had three honorable mentions: running back Daniel McCants, cornerback Deric Robertson and linebacker Trent Hines. Joining them on the team was Copperas Cove center Justin Greene, Harker Heights safety Tyrel Stokes and Belton linebacker Tyler Santanella.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569
Alex Byington contributed to this report.