Casey Hughes spent a considerable amount of time researching the schools that were recruiting him.
But the senior defensive back from Legacy wasn’t interested in depth charts or win-loss records. He was more concerned with the schools’ Academic Progress Rate scores.
“That was the biggest factor,” Hughes said.
Hughes made an oral commitment to Utah on Saturday, choosing the Utes over Oregon State and San Diego State. Hughes’ commitment is nonbinding, and the first day he can sign a letter of intent is Feb. 5. Utah’s coaches cannot comment until that time.
The APR is “a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete, each term,” according to the NCAA’s website. Utah’s football program was No. 2 in Pac-12 Conference behind Stanford in the most recent rating, which ended with the 2010-11 academic year.
“I feel like if Utah can compete with Stanford, they have good academics,” Hughes said.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound Hughes made an official visit to San Diego State two weeks ago and was at Utah last weekend. He canceled his visit to Oregon State, which was scheduled for early next month.
Hughes also had scholarship offers from UNLV, Oregon and UNR, among others.
“I had a good bond with the defensive backs coach (Sharrieff Shah), I got along with the coaches and the facilities are nice,” Hughes said. “It felt like home.”
Hughes was a first-team all-state selection at defensive back after making 63 tackles and one interception for the Longhorns. He was a second-team all-state pick at running back (1,034 yards, 14 touchdowns).
Hughes is one of the fastest players in the state, finishing second in the 100-meter dash as a junior. He is expected to play cornerback and return kicks for the Utes, who went 5-7 (2-6 Pac-12) this season.
“It was stressful to be honest. Now, I’m just excited to be a Ute,” Hughes said. “Hopefully I can come in and compete as fast as possible and help out the team.”