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June 9, 2011

McHugh makes a name for himself





St. Louis, MO- Perhaps one of the biggest surprises at Mizzou's one-day camp in St. Louis was Mike McHugh. The Kirkwood High rising senior has a little bit of Division One interest, but that is sure to pick up after the camp. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound receiver wowed the camp with his 4.47 40-yard time and displayed good hands in drills.

Missouri noticed his athletic gifts. McHugh said he talked to coach Gary Pinkel a few times.

"It was one of the first times they said they were impressed," said McHugh. "They said they were definitely impressed with what they saw. It was nice to see you go from a name on a list to a prospect."

His father said Mike is a late-bloomer. When he went to this camp one year ago, he weighed around 160 pounds. McHugh also got a late start at receiver, playing his first game at the position only two years ago.

"Sophomore year, I started on varsity at safety," he said. "I had an average year. But one of the kids got suspended on the team, and I had to step up. It was one of the first times I played receiver."

Then things started to change for McHugh.

"I just kind of grew after the sophomore season," he said, growing an inch and adding 25 pounds. Those physical changes translated into a memorable catch last summer. A few of his fellow players were raving about it at the Mizzou recruiting camp even though it happened a year ago.

"Over at CBC in 2010, I was running a post," he said. "I jumped it, grabbed it and got both feet in bounds over two guys."

While his teammates screamed with excitement, a lot of area coaches came over to congratulate him, including his new football coach at Kirkwood, Matt Irvin.

His growth reflected in his performance in the fall. Last season, McHugh had 40 catches, for more than 600 yards. He also had 11 touchdowns, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns while playing at safety.

Eastern Illinois, Indiana and Tulsa have all expressed interested in McHugh. He said Northwestern has also pushed hard for him to participate in their June showcase. With all this new interest coming in, McHugh said he does not have a timetable for a decision any time soon. For now, he is just going to work on his physical skill set.

"I'm working on putting some weight and muscle back on," he said. "And if I can, get some speed. Not so much straight-ahead, but some lateral movement. "

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