Nobody needs to paint a picture for quarterback Hunter Hughes — as a graphic artist, he can do that himself — to know that he is facing long, long, improbable odds as he prepares for UH’s pro day later this month.
The odds “have always been against me,” Hughes said. “It was a miracle I was on a Division I roster. I’m going to go out and give it my best shot.”
The Warriors cut Hughes twice before he eventually joined as a walk-on in 2016. In his two UH seasons, he did not take a snap in a game. But Hughes proved valuable as a scout player and quarterback-room presence to earn a scholarship for his last semester at UH. He earned a degree in December.
Hughes could have just focused on the rest of his life. He was paying the bills with his work as a graphic artist in Hawaii. But he decided, at his own expense, to participate in pro day in California. That means paying for his own travel and living accommodations to the UH-administered combine before NFL scouts on the Azusa Pacific and Citrus College campuses.
“I consider it an investment,” he said. “If there’s a chance to spin a few footballs for NFL scouts, I’m going to take a jump at that in a heartbeat. It’s one of those situations where I can go into it without any fear, without any expectations. I can go out and have fun.”
Hughes said he hopes to provide familiarity for former UH receivers Ammon Barker, Keelan Ewaliko and Isaiah Bernard during the field drills. “It’ll be good to be with those guys again and be on the field,” Hughes said.
Last year, long-snapper Brodie Nakama participated in pro day, partly to help kicker/punter Rigo Sanchez. Sanchez eventually signed a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts. In the past, former Warriors have parlayed pro-day performances into contracts with teams overseas or indoor leagues.
Hughes acknowledged this probably is his last shot at performing in an organized-football setting.
“I’m doing it for the love of the game, for the love of the guys, and the opportunity,” Hughes said.