Casey Hughes was tired of being told he was a “track kid” playing football.
Like many dual-sport athletes, Hughes interpreted the phrase “track kid” as an affront to his toughness. So, before the start of his senior year, Hughes went to Legacy football coach Dave Snyder with a message.
“He said, ‘I’m going to prove to you I’m a football player,’ ” Snyder recalled. “Ever since camp, he’s been a man amongst boys. I can honestly say he’s a football player who can run track if he wants to.”
Hughes, a 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound running back/defensive back, has used his impressive speed to become one of the fastest-rising prospects in the state. In six games for the Longhorns, he has rushed for 878 yards and nine touchdowns, while averaging 10.5 yards per carry. He is also second on the team in tackles.
“I always knew I was a football player,” Hughes said. “Track is just something I happened to be good at.”
Hughes finished second to Bonanza’s Jayveon Taylor in the 100-meter dash at the Division I state meet, and his time of 10.94 seconds caught the eye of several football recruiters. UNLV and San Diego State offered him a scholarship in the spring, according to Snyder, and Hughes’ play as a senior has earned him offers from Oregon, Oregon State, UNR, Utah and Utah State, among others.
“At first, the recruiting process was slow and I wasn’t talking to many schools,” Hughes said. “As the season started to go along, more schools are coming to talk to me.”
Hughes said he favors Oregon State, San Diego State and Utah at this point. He said he will visit Utah the first week of December and head to Oregon State the following week.
“I’m going by whichever school can help me academically and whichever will give me the most playing time,” Hughes said.
Hughes was a second-team All-Southwest League pick as a defensive back last season and said he prefers that side of the ball, although some schools are recruiting him as a running back.
“Athletically, he could play on the offensive side of the ball, no question about it,” Snyder said. “But he could be a big-time D-I safety or cornerback. If he stays healthy and does the right things, we’ll probably watch him on Sundays one day.”
■ MARTINEZ STEPS DOWN — Arbor View baseball coach Chris Martinez resigned after four seasons and has been replaced by assistant Jay Guest, school officials confirmed.
The Aggies went 99-35 under Martinez, advancing to the Sunset Region title game in 2012. Arbor View finished 30-6 last season and went 1-2 in the region tournament.
Guest formerly coached at Valley and was an assistant at College of Southern Nevada for 11 seasons before serving as a volunteer assistant at UNLV.
■ SLADEK ADDS TO RECORD — Pahrump Valley girls soccer player Sydney Sladek scored four goals in an 8-0 victory over Cheyenne on Thursday, upping her state record for career goals to 176. Earlier this month, Sladek eclipsed the previous state record of 154 set by Traci Prado of North Tahoe from 1998 to 2000.
■ SANCHEZ TO COACH ALL-STARS — Bishop Gorman football coach Tony Sanchez was named the head coach of the West team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The game, which features 90 of the nation’s top seniors, takes place Jan. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio and will be televised by NBC.
■ RECENT COMMITMENTS — Gorman girls swimmer Amy Lubawy made an oral commitment to Tennessee. Lubawy is the defending state champion in the 50-yard freestyle.
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.