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January 26, 2010

Alabama center to enroll early

Ole Miss three-star offensive line commitment Chase Hughes has elected to forego the final semester of his senior season and will instead enroll on Tuesday.

"I'm going to enroll tomorrow," Hughes said on Monday evening. "I'm really excited about getting started."

Hughes, from Springville, Ala., said when he committed to Ole Miss last fall that he was on track to graduate early, but at that time didn't know if he'd elected to stay for his final semester or get an early start by enrolling in college. He recently decided to enroll early.

"When I got to thinking about it and what I'll be doing for the next four or five years, it just made a lot of sense to get started early," he said. "It (enrolling early) will put me light years ahead of where I would be if I waited until the summer."

While Hughes will enroll early, he said he is uncertain if he'll be able to practice this spring.

He suffered an injury to his labrum - a tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint and holds the arm in the socket - and missed the last three games of his senior season.

"When I got hurt, it was really scary," he said. "I did it when I was trying to make a block and just made a hit at a bad angle and it made a real loud noise. I can still see it in my mind and hear the noise. It still hurts to think about it."

Hughes said he's close to 100 percent and his recovery is going good and he's almost gained his full range of motion in his shoulder.

"I don't know if I'll be able to go all out in full contact this spring," he said. "I know I'll be able to work out some and keep rehabbing the shoulder."

Hughes said he considered his injury situation when deciding to leave school early, but feels even if he can't fully participate in spring practice, he'll still benefit from being in the program a semester early.

"I can still get to know the offense, study film, and be around coaches and players that will help me this fall," he said.

With the possible departure of senior center Daverin Geralds, Hughes figures to compete immediately for playing time at center along with grayshirt Evan Swindall. Swindall joined the team in December after delaying his enrollment and attending school last fall as a part time student, but he was not eligible to practice with the team during the fall.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss is trying to get a fifth year of eligibility for Geralds, who played in only several plays in 2006, but that could still cost him a year of eligibility.

Hughes will be making the return trip on Tuesday after spending the weekend at Ole Miss with his parents on an official visit.

"The visit was the same as always - great and I love it," Hughes said. "My parents love it so much in Oxford they said they wished they could just stay with me."

Hughes picked up an offer from Florida State after committing to Ole Miss and initially said he might take an official visit there, but in the end, never gave serious consideration to the other nine teams that offered after he committed to the Rebels.


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