By Mike Pilosof
Dallas, TX-Putting it in simple terms: the Minnesota Vikings may have gotten the best value in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The team that was one win from the Super Bowl this past season, made a splash, drafting former Broncbuster defensive back and return specialist Mike Hughes with the 30th overall selection on Thursday night. He is the first player from Garden City to ever go that high in the draft.
"Mike has the ability to be an NFL top 100 player," Garden City Coach Jeff Sims said. "After coaching Lavonte David and Jason Pierre-Paul, Mike has incredible physical gifts, and has the ability to continue to improve every year as a player."
Hughes spent one season in Garden City, turning a three-win team in 2015 into the school's first-ever National Champion just one year later. For his efforts, he was named the Jayhawk Defensive Player of the Year and landed on the All-America team.
"Mike is with a great organization that can continue to develop him," Sims said. "The sky is the limit. I am sure he will be very impactful."
During his lone season in Broncbuster gold, Hughes dazzled with 47 tackles, two interceptions and six pass breakups. He added three punt returns for touchdowns including an 83-yard dance in a critical 16-14 victory over Hutchinson in week five.
"I believe he will be one of the most dangerous returners in the league the first few years while he blossoms into one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL," Sims added.
Following the 2016 seasons, Hughes transferred to Central Florida, where he led the program to a 12-0 record. He made the American Conference first team as a corner and second team as a return specialist. Hughes returned three kicks for touchdowns and started 11 of 12 games at corner, registering 44 tackles including 32 solo stops.
In retrospect, it's been an incredible ride for Hughes, who led New Bern High School to a 15-0 record and a state championship as a senior before appearing in 11 games at the University of North Carolina as a true freshman.