Jerry Hughes’ draft diary: ‘My family is more excited about me graduating than playing in NFL’

My final days in Phoenix are winding down. I’m really excited about going out to Indianapolis and performing at the Combine.

Jerry Hughes is on a dual track: Get drafted, and get his degree.
Jerry Hughes is on a dual track: Get drafted, and get his degree.

Once I leave the Combine, I’ll come back here and train for a few more days and then go back to (TCU) and get all settled in. My pro day is March 12, and that will also be an opportunity for me to show scouts what I can offer.

I need six credit hours to graduate with a degree in Communications. I’m taking two online courses right now, and they’re high-level courses so it’s hard not being in the classroom. You’re not able to see the professor or to ask questions. At the same time, you’re not in school mode or in that environment.

One of the classes is a service learning class, where I’m working with the rest of the class to put together a lesson plan that we’ll teach kids. It’s about pushing the urgency of school and self-respect. The other class is more of a case study-type class. I’m reading the textbook and then writing a term paper about persuasive communication and how it works in the workforce. It’s simple guidelines and techniques people use in everyday life to make them a better person.

I feel really good about graduating. My family is excited about it; it’s something they always pushed me toward accomplishing. If you asked them, they’re more excited about me graduating from college than playing in the NFL. I’d really like to walk with my class, too. It depends on where I am and what team drafts me, but hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to walk on May 8.

As far as the Combine, I’m really more antsy than nervous. I like to say this is my one and only chance at this job opportunity, so I have to make a great first impression. This is the biggest job opportunity of my life. I’ve got one shot to go and perform well.

I’ll perform all the drills there at the Combine. Anything they want me to do, I’ll do. I have to say that working out here has really helped me. I’m working with coaches who are experts in running and lifting weights. You can work out by yourself, but as far as technique and gaining significant improvement, that’s just not going to happen by yourself.

It’s good to have other guys here who are training, too. We’re athletes and we’re competitive. It’s one big competition here. You see a guy run a fast time or lift a specific amount, you push yourself to reach that level or beat what they did.

I feel really good about the results I’ve gained here. But the only results that matter are the results that come up on those stopwatches.

—As told to Matt Hayes

About the author

Jerry Hughes, a dominant defensive end from TCU, was a first-team All-American and took home the Lott Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award. Hughes became the second two-time consensus All-American in school history. He’ll chronicle his journey to the NFL draft for Sporting News.

This story first appeared in Feb. 22’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

My final days in Phoenix are winding down. I’m really excited about going out to Indianapolis and performing at the Combine.

Jerry Hughes is on a dual track: Get drafted, and get his degree.
Jerry Hughes is on a dual track: Get drafted, and get his degree.

Once I leave the Combine, I’ll come back here and train for a few more days and then go back to (TCU) and get all settled in. My pro day is March 12, and that will also be an opportunity for me to show scouts what I can offer.

I need six credit hours to graduate with a degree in Communications. I’m taking two online courses right now, and they’re high-level courses so it’s hard not being in the classroom. You’re not able to see the professor or to ask questions. At the same time, you’re not in school mode or in that environment.

One of the classes is a service learning class, where I’m working with the rest of the class to put together a lesson plan that we’ll teach kids. It’s about pushing the urgency of school and self-respect. The other class is more of a case study-type class. I’m reading the textbook and then writing a term paper about persuasive communication and how it works in the workforce. It’s simple guidelines and techniques people use in everyday life to make them a better person.

I feel really good about graduating. My family is excited about it; it’s something they always pushed me toward accomplishing. If you asked them, they’re more excited about me graduating from college than playing in the NFL. I’d really like to walk with my class, too. It depends on where I am and what team drafts me, but hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to walk on May 8.

As far as the Combine, I’m really more antsy than nervous. I like to say this is my one and only chance at this job opportunity, so I have to make a great first impression. This is the biggest job opportunity of my life. I’ve got one shot to go and perform well.

I’ll perform all the drills there at the Combine. Anything they want me to do, I’ll do. I have to say that working out here has really helped me. I’m working with coaches who are experts in running and lifting weights. You can work out by yourself, but as far as technique and gaining significant improvement, that’s just not going to happen by yourself.

It’s good to have other guys here who are training, too. We’re athletes and we’re competitive. It’s one big competition here. You see a guy run a fast time or lift a specific amount, you push yourself to reach that level or beat what they did.

I feel really good about the results I’ve gained here. But the only results that matter are the results that come up on those stopwatches.

—As told to Matt Hayes

About the author

Jerry Hughes, a dominant defensive end from TCU, was a first-team All-American and took home the Lott Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award. Hughes became the second two-time consensus All-American in school history. He’ll chronicle his journey to the NFL draft for Sporting News.

This story first appeared in Feb. 22’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

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