Jaylen Hughey

Cullman's Jaylen Hughey celebrates after scoring a touchdown.

Jaylen Hughey isn't about to slow down any time soon.

The talented Cullman running back is simply too motivated for success.

And that has caught the eye of numerous college football programs around the country.

Hughey held only three offers — Florida Atlantic, Austin Peay and Faulkner — following the end of his junior campaign, but the number has since soared to 20 ... and counting.

"I was surprised at how fast they came," said the soon-to-be senior. "But I knew it would happen eventually, because I've been working hard for a long time. To me, though, one offer is the same as 20 offers. I'm still going to work as hard as I can to be the best I can be."

Hughey's impressive game film no doubt contributed to the recent uptick in interest.

The 6-3, 230-pound standout is currently ranked as a 3-star athlete by Rivals following a superb 2019 season that saw him garner 1,278 yards and nine touchdowns on just 132 carries — good for an average of 9.7 yards per tote.

That production landed him a spot on the Class 6A All-State Football Team as a second-team running back.

But Hughey isn't content with just having a solid senior season.

"My ultimate goal is to reach 3,000 yards," he said. "I know everyone is going to be honing in on me, but that's not going to stop me from running hard and doing everything that I can to help the team win. We're also going to have some young guys step up this year."

Hughey split the backfield duties with Jayden Sullins last fall but figures to get the lion's share of carries in 2020 following Sullins' graduation and subsequent enrollment at Navy.

Of Hughey's 20 offers, eight are from FBS programs — Florida Atlantic, South Alabama, Toledo, Arkansas State, North Texas, Akron, Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee.

As of now, he said South Alabama, Toledo and Jacksonville State are recruiting him the hardest.

"I have my mind on several schools," he added.

Hughey's offseason preparation has changed a bit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He believes, however, the Bearcats will still be in good position heading into fall camp.

"We're all still doing as much as we can to be ready to go," Hughey said. "It's a great opportunity for us to get ahead of our competition this season. We're working extremely hard so we don't fall behind."

% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.​

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