Harker Heights senior linebacker Naashon Hughes always knew the Texas coaches would come around.

Nine months after originally accepting a tentative grayshirt opportunity in February, Hughes’ commitment to Texas was finally rewarded when Longhorns head coach Mack Brown offered the 6-foot-4, 210-pound three-star prospect a full scholarship as a member of the 2013 recruiting class during his official visit to the 40 Acres this weekend.

“That’s what I’ve been working toward all year, so once he told me, I was immediately happy … it left me speechless,” said Hughes, who was named co-Defensive MVP at the Harker Heights football banquet Monday evening.

A grayshirt scholarship involves a student-athlete delaying his enrollment at a college until the second semester of his freshman year, meaning he’d be a member of the 2014 recruiting class.

But now, once he signs his letter of intent in February, Hughes will join fellow Knights teammate Darius James (6-7, 320 pounds) and Belton tight end Durham Smythe (6-6, 230 pounds) as a member of the 2013 class. James, an Under Armour All-American and the nation’s top-ranked center prospect, committed to Texas a week after Hughes did in early March, with Smythe following a week later.

“We already have plans of winning a national championship, so I can’t wait to get there and go to work,” Hughes said.

After helping captain a Knights defense that spearheaded Heights’ first postseason appearance since 2006, Hughes, James and senior safety Tyrel Stokes were being courted by Oklahoma midweek last week, with Hughes receiving a full scholarship offer from the Sooners during the in-school visit.

“I thought about it a little bit, because at that time I still had the grayshirt offer from Texas, so I definitely considered it,” Hughes said, “but only for like an hour or so. Then I thought about where I wanted to be and that was Texas.

“And on Saturday, (Texas) gave me a full offer and that just kind of cemented it.”

Hughes is the younger brother of current Texas freshman offensive lineman Camrhon Hughes, who suffered a torn ACL in June and redshirted this season, so both Hugheses will qualify as freshmen next season.

The two Hughes brothers spent much of the weekend together, along with James and several other top-tier Longhorn commits. Naashon Hughes also reconnected with freshman cornerback Orlando “Duke” Thomas, a former Copperas Cove standout and district rival who served as his player host.

Contact Alex Byington at alexb@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7566

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