Started From the Bench, Now He’s Here

Tobijah Hughley. Photo by Michelle Hutchins | Louisville Athletics

Tobijah Hughley. Photo by Michelle Hutchins | Louisville Athletics

Lamar Jackson is the most electric player on the UofL roster, but before he can get the ball, center Tobijah Hughley has to get it to him. Hughley is a Lexington, Kentucky, native and a former walk-on. In 2015 he was the team’s Scholar Athlete of the Year. He has already graduated and is working on his master’s in sport administration.

When you came here, did you ever imagine that you would be in this position?
The journey was long of course. Came here pretty low on the depth chart, actually all the way at the bottom of the totem pole. There were about four centers in front of me, so yeah, the dream was still there but now that the reality is kicking in – yeah I thought that I could make this happen.

What would you have been happy with accomplishing in your career?
Just getting on the field. At that time, Coach Borberly was here as well as Coach Strong. I made it clear to them that at one time in my career, I wanted to play.

What did it mean to you when you found out you were going to be a captain?
A lot of hard work, a testimony. It meant that I had earned the respect of my teammates of course, and I thank them for voting me as a captain. I’m ready to make that next step.

How difficult is the balance between schoolwork and football?
It’s a busy day. Some days, you’ve got to wake up, go to lifting, try to get something to eat and go to class and then lunch and right back to practice. It’s a full day, but it’s definitely rewarding at the end of the day.

Is there any down time?
Maybe on Sunday, the day after the game, and of course Monday, which is our film day and we really don’t have practice. There’s a small amount – you’ve got to take advantage of it though.

What do you do on an off day?
We’re here watching film and I try to rest and recuperate my body for the following week.

How sore are you the day after a game?
It’s a lot of banging, but your body gets used to it. They do a great job of preparing us in the off-season for the grind of the season.

What do you look for when you come to line for a play?
Call out the defense, three down, four down, get everyone on the same page as far as blocking schemes and how we’re going to execute the play.

Does the offensive line feel more like a unit than it has at any other time in your time here?
I would say yes. We’ve come together pretty fast. Coach Petrino and the coaching staff have done a great job of preparing us.

Which offensive lineman do watch a lot of film on?
I like Maurkice Pouncey, and of course I like Eric Wood because he went here and he’s taught me a lot of things. VT