Nathan Hughes has the type of frame that he could grow into a defensive tackle. But recruiting services believe one of Oklahoma's highest-rated 2011 signees might be dominant if he remains at defensive end.
Hughes, 6-foot-6, 260-pounds, played with a cast at the Under Armour game to protect a broken hand. The Spring, Texas, product made a strong impression on Scott Kennedy, the Scout.com director of recruiting.
“He turned into my pick for player most likely to be in the NFL from the Under Armour game,” Kennedy said. “He has the size that might make him a defensive tackle one day but has the look of a 290-pound, first-round defensive end when he's finished at Oklahoma.”
Once the Klein Oak High School product adds weight at OU, there might be a temptation to move Hughes inside. But because of his speed, Hughes is projected to remain at defensive end.
Hughes was ranked the No. 5 player in Texas by Scout.com and is a member of EPSNU's top 150.
ESPN's Corey Long wrote Hughes might play immediately this season.
“Don't be surprised if (OU) defensive line recruits Nathan Hughes and Jordan Wade continue the tradition of first-round draft picks to come through Oklahoma,” Long said. “There are visions of these two talents terrorizing opposing backfields for the next three to four years.”
Labeled a “high motor” player, Hughes has a quick first step, acceleration and plays with leverage. He recorded 93 tackles his senior year, 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Hughes recorded 82 tackles (51 solo) and 11 sacks as a junior.