Texas Longhorns: Camrhon Hughes

Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 71 Camrhon Hughes
Sophomore offensive tackle

Recruitment rewind: Hughes, a four-star tackle from Harker Heights, Texas, turned down offers from Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech and chose Texas during a junior day visit in 2011. He enrolled early in the spring of 2012 and was joined at Texas by his younger brother, linebacker Naashon Hughes, after his first year in the program.

Career so far: Hughes has been a Longhorn for two years and has not appeared in a game. He redshirted in 2012 after sustaining a torn ACL during a pickup basketball game that summer, and Hughes did not appear on the depth chart at any point last season. He was a scout-team contributor and did not start on either offensive line in the spring game scrimmage.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Hughes is probably a third-string offensive tackle at this point and will try to work his way into the rotation as a backup to either Desmond Harrison at left tackle or Kennedy Estelle at right tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 317 pounds, he's certainly not lacking for the size you want on the outside. If he can earn a backup job and play a good amount of snaps in relief of the starters, that would be a great start.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Texas has not been able to find much reliable depth at offensive line behind its starters in recent years, and you'd hope that trend will end under respected offensive line coach Joe Wickline. Hughes is one of those players who can get lost in the mix, backing up younger linemen, if he doesn't make a step in the right direction this fall.

Future expectations: Hughes has plenty of time to get his Texas playing career back on track, with three seasons of eligibility remaining, and the truth is he wouldn't have broken into the veteran-heavy lineup last season even if he were fully healthy and ready to go. The Longhorns are probably going to have a real question mark at left tackle in 2015 after Harrison graduates, and that's probably the job Hughes should focus on landing.

Meet the Freshmen: OL Darius James

July, 18, 2013
Darius James was the most highly touted member of Texas’ 2013 class, but he arrived in Austin this month with a considerable chip on his shoulder.

The nation’s No. 17 overall prospect from Killeen (Texas) Harker Heights is hungry to prove he deserved that acclaim after missing nearly his entire senior season with a broken left foot.

With his best friend Naashon Hughes by his side, James has his eyes on the prize: He wants to start from day one, and he wants to win a national title.

HornsNation: Your career as a Texas Longhorn is about to begin. How does that feel?

[+] EnlargeDarius James
Max Olson/ESPNLonghorns signee Darius James was rated the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas in the Class of 2013.
Darius James: It’s so surreal. It’s pretty crazy. The more it gets closer, the more nervous I get. Everybody is telling you to get hyped for college and how everyone in college is so much faster and bigger. You don’t know how you match up to that. You’re ready for that, but it’s still a little crazy.

HN: You’ve been hearing for a long time that you’ll play right away when you get to Texas. Do you feel ready for that challenge?

James: I feel like I’m ready for anything. But there’s also the fact that you’re playing with seniors who are four or five years older than you. I’m just going to go in there scared and pissed off.

HN: You spent this spring having to get back in shape following your injury. How did that go?

James: The spring was hell. It was pretty crazy. It was a lot of vigorous work and running and tires and weights. I’ve been going to a trainer and he’s been helping me get my weight down. I went from 360 to now I’m like 329 pounds.

HN: How do you feel when you look back on missing so much of your senior season? Are there mixed emotions?

James: Oh yes, very mixed emotions. I feel like if I would’ve played this year, I would’ve been one of the best out there. But it’s in the past. You can’t change anything in the past. I’m just ready to go out there and try to be the best player in college.

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Burnt Orange Breakdown: OL Greenlea 

July, 16, 2013
During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 76 Garrett Greenlea
Sophomore tackle

During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 71 Camrhon Hughes
Freshman offensive tackle

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Three-star outside linebacker Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights) was comfortable with his decision.

Early on in his recruitment, Hughes decided to take Texas’ offer of a grayshirt to be near his brother, Camrhon Hughes, a redshirt freshman offensive tackle and best friend Darius James, a fellow 2013 commit.

[+] EnlargeNaashon Hughes
Max Olson/ESPNThree-star prospect Naashon Hughes said he likes playing both outside linebacker and safety.
Other schools tried to sway Hughes -- he also had offers from Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and South Carolina -- but he wanted to be a Longhorn even if it meant he’d have to sit out the 2013 season and enroll at Texas in January 2014.

Hughes’ patience paid off when he was awarded a full ride by Texas coach Mack Brown during breakfast at Brown’s house on the weekend of Dec. 7 while on an official visit.

With all of his worries subsided, Hughes turned his focus toward becoming the best player he could be in his last few months at Harker Heights. Now that time has come to an end, and he’s ready to start his career.

HornsNation: What most excites you about the journey you are about to embark on?

Naashon Hughes: Just getting started with football actually. Just getting back to working out and everything. I miss it a lot. A lot. It just feels like a longer break but really I’m just switching schools.

HN: What have you been doing to stay in shape since signing day?

Hughes: I’ve been working out with a trainer in Kileen at like 6 a.m. We do bench, single Bulgarian split squats, alligator walks, hang cleans, power cleans, everything cleans. We switch it up everyday.

HN: Is it tough to wake up that early and workout when you know it is summer time and your friends are out having fun?

Hughes: It started off hard but since I’ve been been doing it for so long it’s not that hard. But at the beginning it was pretty tough.

HN: Have you set any goals for your freshman season?

Hughes: I just want to work as hard as I can so I can try and play. I’m just trying to work hard and earn my spot.

HN: There was talk during your recruitment that you could play either outside linebacker or safety. Where do you think you’ll end up?

Hughes: Kind of in that outside linebacker position. I actually prefer that and safety about the same.

HN: What do you like about outside linebacker so much?

Hughes: You can get a little bit of the offensive linemen but you also get the running backs and receivers as well. Defensive linemen, the majority of the time, deal with linemen. Safeties mostly deal with receivers. But that "SAM" position gets a little bit of both.

HN: Have you put on any weight this summer?

Hughes: I have. I’m up 10 pounds to 223 and am 6-foot-4 .

HN: What has your brother told you about what to expect and how to handle yourself?

Hughes: He basically told me to work hard and earn my spot. He told me in whatever I do just work as hard as I can and my time would come.

HN: Now, Camrhon tore his ACL playing in a pickup basketball game around this time last year. How is he now?

Hughes: He is doing good. They cleared him to play and everything. Now he is just working out and getting his leg stronger so he can actually play at full speed.

HN: Will you play any basketball this summer?

Hughes: I’ll probably still play a little bit because I am the only one that has played in my family. But I think Camerhon is definitely done. I’ll play a little bit.

HN: You should probably tell everyone you are playing against to take it easy when guarding you, right?

Hughes: Definitely.
AUSTIN, Texas -- The thin, burnt-orange offensive line that has broken apart and allowed Texas to be pushed from good to bad is supposed to be fixed this time around.

Stacy Searels, who has long bemoaned the lack of talent, bodies and blocking ability of his charges along that line, has earned the praise of Texas coach Mack Brown, not only for Searels' patience but also his persistence in rebuilding that line.

[+] EnlargeStacy Searels
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsTexas offensive line coach Stacy Searels finally has enough depth in his group to have a two-deep.
"He didn't know until he got here there were only seven scholarship guys that were going through spring practice," Brown said. "He has done a tremendous job of reloading our offensive line."

Reloading might not be the right word to use there, as such a term leads one to believe the line was recently loaded. It has been several seasons since that argument could be made. Texas hasn’t produced an NFL lineman since 2008. Prior to that, Brown’s program had seven offensive linemen drafted over a nine-year span -- a healthy number and one that exceeds the production of Alabama and Oklahoma over the same time period.

So Searels has been more pouring a foundation than restocking the shelves. And now the time has come to find out if there are cracks or if Texas is ready to build on a solid base.

Heading into 2013, the offensive line has all five starters returning. Four of those players were also starters on the 2011 offensive line, while the fifth, Donald Hawkins, came in as a junior college transfer after that season. Those starters did have less-than-stellar performances throughout 2012, however, and, quite frankly, were shoved around by TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State and a few other teams.

Texas, with its loaded backfield, averaged 3.4 rushing yards per attempt against the six ranked opponents it played in 2012. Against TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State, the Longhorns failed to reach 100 yards rushing and averaged 3.0 rushing yards per attempt.

It's safe to assume those types of numbers have not exactly locked down a starting job for every player who started along that offensive line. To that end, Texas does have a potential new tackle waiting in the wings in the form of junior college transfer Desmond Harrison.

His arrival should signal some shifts along the line at every position, save for Josh Cochran at the opposite tackle spot.

"He [Cochran] is a tackle, so you'd leave him there," Brown said. "But the fact that Trey Hopkins has played everywhere, Donald Hawkins could play different places, guard or tackle, just gives you a lot more flexibility for depth. [Sedrick] Flowers would be a center or guard. You wouldn't move him outside. But you have flexibility and you have to look at that great freshman class coming in, too, to see if any of those guys are ready to play."

Texas signed five offensive linemen in its 2013 class and could play at least one of those. Darius James, who was ranked No. 17 in the ESPN 150, appears to be the odds-on favorite to be that player. He could fill in at the guard spot and also has some center in his background.

Since Texas wants to average about 84 plays per game, it is not unreasonable to believe that up to 10 linemen could see time in each game. To believe that Texas had that many linemen available in the past would have been a ludicrous assumption.

Even last season, Texas could barely go beyond six offensive linemen. But given the emergence of Kennedy Estelle (tackle) and Flowers (guard), plus the improved health of Camrhon Hughes (tackle), the arrival of Harrison and James makes a deeper rotation at least a plausible thought.

"I really think that we can have two-deep, and that will be the first time we have been two-deep around here in a long time," Brown said. "And I think we are -- I know we are headed in the right direction with our depth in the offensive line."

Five Texas redshirt freshmen to watch 

February, 21, 2013
No member of Texas’ 28-man recruiting class in 2012 expected anything less than early playing time when he joined the program, especially after the Longhorns had seemingly thrown every freshman they had on the field the previous season.

You already know plenty about Johnathan Gray, Malcom Brown, Daje Johnson and Texas' other high-impact freshmen. But what about the ones who sat out last season?

For 12 of those 28 signees, getting onto the field in year one just wasn’t in the cards. After spending the fall on the practice field, in the weight room and home in their dorms for road games, those dozen recruits are ready to start making a name for themselves.

It all starts with a breakthrough spring. Last year, tight end M.J. McFarland was really the only redshirt freshman who saw meaningful playing time for the Longhorns. What does 2013 have in store for this year’s crop of second-year freshmen?

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Position breakdown: Offensive line 

February, 15, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas' offensive line is stacked with returning starters at every position.

Yet, every position remains open.

[+] EnlargeDonald Hawkins
Tim Heitman/US PresswireLast season's starting left tackle Donald Hawkins might get more time at guard this spring.
Welcome to the new world of the offensive line. The Longhorns, not satisfied with the blocking against teams even remotely talented on the defensive line (The Longhorns, despite having two of the most-hyped running backs in the country, failed to gain 100 rushing yards on TCU, Oklahoma or Kansas State.) could be in a position to change things up across the line.

And while four of the recently signed offensive linemen will not make it to campus until the summer, the coaching staff can start evaluating how the current handful of returning starters reacts to the new no-huddle offense. If they do not excel in their evaluations, Texas at least now could have viable options to replace a few of them.

Tackles: Since Desmond Harrison is not enrolled yet so it is tough for him to be a part of the spring conversations. Although returning tackle Donald Hawkins will probably get extra work inside in preparation for Harrison’s arrival. Texas has a few guys it can and wants to throw into that tackle position this spring with Kennedy Estelle chief among them. Estelle played last season but had a shoulder injury that forced him to the sideline. He has a big, athletic body and can run so he might be very well suited for a no-huddle attack. Camrhon Hughes is a player Texas was extremely high on last spring but a knee injury in the offseason cost him playing time. Texas is hoping Hughes can participate throughout the spring so they can determine how and when to use him.

Returning starter Josh Cochran might move sides, but he is not likely to move from the tackle spot.

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Horns Snapshot: OL Kent Perkins 

February, 4, 2013
To gear up for 2013 national signing day, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson is breaking down every commitment in the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Offensive lineman Kent Perkins, Lake Highlands, Texas/Lake Highlands | 6-foot-5, 300 pounds

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Horns Snapshot: OL Jake Raulerson 

February, 3, 2013
To gear up for 2013 national signing day, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson is breaking down every commitment in the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Offensive lineman Jake Raulerson, Celina, Texas/Celina | 6-foot-5, 262 pounds

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Horns Snapshot: OL Desmond Harrison 

January, 30, 2013
To gear up for 2013 national signing day, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson is breaking down every commitment in the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, Contra Costa College (Calif.) | 6-foot-8, 310 pounds

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Will 2013 Texas class make early impact? 

December, 22, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Nobody has played more true freshmen than Texas over the past two years.

Eighteen hit the field in 2011. Another 16 in 2012.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Kevin Jairaj/US PresswireMack Brown's 2013 recruiting class might not be needed to contribute early because of the Longhorns' young roster.
In 2013, few teams will play less newcomers than the Longhorns. The simple fact is Texas, despite the record, is loaded with returning talent at every position. And those few freshmen who did not play at the start of their careers are starting to appear more and more ready to step up now.

"In fact, all of them have looked really good," said Texas coach Mack Brown of the redshirts participating in bowl practice. "I think that's a great class. For us to have played 16 of them and the ones that didn't play looked good. So it will be fun to watch those guys through the spring."

That fun might have to be tempered with a few hard decisions when it comes to mixing and matching where to put the bodies. But that there finally are experienced bodies in place bodes well for Texas, even if doesn’t for those in the incoming class of 2013 who want to play right away.

The grumblings probably won’t be too loud, however, simply because there are not that many voices to be heard. Texas has 12 commitments from high school players with quite possibly only one more high school prospect becoming a commitment, Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco). If that remains the case, this will be the smallest class of high school players Brown has signed in his tenure at Texas.

Texas has and is expected to continue to try and supplement this class with junior college players. De'Vondre Campbell (Hutchinson, Kan./ Hutchinson CC) is a possibility at linebacker and Geoff Swaim (Chico, Calif./Butte CC) is coming in as a tight end. There might be more to come. And that further clogs up the playing pipeline for next year’s true freshmen.

Whether or not Campbell signs with Texas, the linebacker spot should have enough bodies so that Deoundrei Davis (Cypress, Texas/ Cypress Woods) is not pressed into early playing time. Texas should have a healthy Jordan Hicks back as well as returning starter Steve Edmond and the emerging Peter Jinkens as the first group. That leaves Texas with a strong group of reserves in Tevin Jackson, Dalton Santos, Kendall Thompson, and Demarco Cobbs. Thompson has started in the past and will get a shot. Cobbs also has started but might be seen as more of a third down specialist in the future.

Texas has three defensive backs committed and that is a spot where the Longhorns will be weakened by the departure of safety Kenny Vaccaro. But moves have already been made to shore up that weakness. Cornerback Quandre Diggs, one of Texas’ best defensive players, has been shifted to safety during bowl practice

"[Defensive backs coach Duane Akina] always likes to move them around and if you have more corners than safeties for next year, you're losing that toughness that Kenny Vaccaro brings and that confidence and leadership; so who will be the guy to step in there and to help that?" Browns said. "So Quandre has played about every day at safety, he knows what to do, and the other end of it."

Adrian Phillips played significantly better in the second half of the season at safety than the first. Mykkele Thompson should also be more prepared. At corner, Carrington Byndom is back, Duke Thomas is available and Josh Turner can play both. While the defensive back position is not loaded, there appear to be enough veteran players to keep Texas from having to dip down and grab someone like Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop), Chevoski Collins (Livingston, Texas/Livingston) or Erik Huhn (Cibolo, Texas/Steele).

The defensive and offensive lines return everybody except defensive end Alex Okafor. Cedric Reed, Reggie Wilson and Shiro Davis will serve as Okafor’s replacement and Jackson Jeffcoat’s backup. So it is unlikely Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) will see any time. Defensive tackle is Texas’ deepest position and with Malcom Brown commanding more and more playing time there is not much sense is using A'Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/ Arlington Heights) early.

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Q&A: Naashon Hughes talks scholarship 

December, 18, 2012
Outside linebacker Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights) was prepared to grayshirt to stay with Texas and be near his brother, Camrhon Hughes, a redshirt freshman offensive tackle, and best friend Darius James, a fellow 2013 commitment.

He understood that he would have had to sit out the 2013 season and enroll at Texas in January 2014, essentially missing out on his true freshman year.

So when he and most of Texas’ 2013 commitments collectively took their official visits the weekend of Dec. 7, he was just looking to spend time with them and soak up the fun. It could have been the last time he saw all of them together for a while.

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Longhorns add impressive OT in Knox 

November, 26, 2012
There’s seldom a year when offensive line recruiting isn’t at or near the top of a program’s priorities list.

It appeared to be Texas’ main agenda in 2013 with three of its top four commitments coming from the big fellas up front and should be one if its most critical points of emphasis again in 2014.

[+] EnlargeDemetrius Knox
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN Watch List offensive tackle Demetrius Knox almost committed to Texas this summer.
Texas got a big piece of its recruiting puzzle figured out on Monday with the verbal commitment of ESPN Watch List tackle Demetrius Knox, who chose the Longhorns over Ohio State, TCU and Alabama. The 6-foot-4, 296-pound bookend is considered the top junior lineman in the state.

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The football field is a break from a reality that hasn’t always been easy for Longhorns linebacker commitment Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights) through the last year.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Hughes was asleep with six other family members inside his home when a loud explosion woke everyone at 3 a.m. The family made it out safely but the house eventually became engulfed in flames and burned down. Reports were that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical connection in the kitchen.

[+] EnlargeNaashon Hughes
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comThree-star linebacker Naashon Hughes, a Texas commit, is staying positive and ready to enroll at Texas.
At the time of the explosion, Hughes, whose brother Camrhon Hughes is a redshirt freshman at Texas, was upstairs with their 13-year-old brother Christopher, who was lying in a hospital bed with two broken legs he suffered in a basketball game.

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Loyal Texas Fans To Get Ticket Priority
University of Texas senior associate athletic director Nick Voinis explains the loyalty points system that will reward prior donors and ticket purchasers with priority access for tickets to in-demand games.