Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 | 11 a.m.
When Legacy High’s Casey Hughes contemplated which college football program to attend, he just couldn’t pass on the University of Utah.
And while the defensive back and kick returner’s comfort with the coaching staff and where he envisions himself fitting in on the team were key factors, it wasn’t the most important reason. He verbally committed today.
“I really liked the academics,” said Hughes, who plans to study sports broadcasting.
Hughes then recited a few of the football team’s academic achievements — he says their graduation rate is second in the Pac-12 behind Stanford.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Hughes also had scholarship offers from Oregon State, Washington, San Diego State, Colorado, Army and UNLV. He visited Utah last weekend and immediately felt a bond with future teammates. His host was Bubba Poole, a Cimarron-Memorial product who is Utah’s starting running back.
“I just felt I was home on my visit,” Hughes said.
Hughes had 63 tackles and one interception in 2012 for Legacy, also rushing for more than 1,000 and 14 touchdowns at running back. He was an all-Northwest League selection and part of the Sun’s preseason all-city team.
He’s also one of the Las Vegas area’s top track sprinters, taking second last spring in the 100 at state and being clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He was part of Legacy’s state champion 400 relay team.
Verbal commitments are nonbinding. They aren’t official until an athlete signs a letter of intent. Signing day is Feb. 5.