December 2, 2010

Freshman success for Hughes

Mississippi State brought in 22 scholarship freshman this season but only three have seen the field this season.

Linebacker Chris Hughes was the first of those freshmen to receive playing time and is already making his presence felt for the Bulldogs.

Hughes played in 10 of MSU's 12 games during the regular season missing the Kentucky game after a helmet-to-helmet hit on UAB wide receiver Frantrell Forrest. He has recorded 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and forced a fumble.

"It's been up and down," Hughes said. "I started off with a lot of confidence and felt like I was one of the top freshmen on our team. I kind of got torn down emotionally only playing special teams but I got a promotion and I'm on the field a whole lot more. Then I got a suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit but now I'm starting to work my way back up again. I've just had to show a lot of patience and maturity to work my way back up."

The six-foot, 215-pounder missed most of his senior season after rupturing his Achilles tendon on the first practice in full pads so this fall was his first chance to go 100-percent in nearly two years.

Despite the long layoff, Hughes did not feel any rust once he hit the practice fields in Starkville.

"It was actually the opposite of rust because I was so eager to play," Hughes said. "I'm a livewire. I love to play football and I love to hit. I just came out full go and ready."

The adjustment from Davidson High School in Mobile, Ala., to the Southeastern Conference has been minimal according to Hughes. As a junior the former three-star recruit notched 118 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles, three interceptions, two pass deflections and four quarterback hurries as a safety.

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