"I believe in Coach Hall and Coach Hall believes in me."
The North Carolina state record-holder in the 55m decided recently to hang up his football cleats and focus on track for the next chapter of his life.
Parkland Magnet's (NC) Antwan Hughes, who clocked a time of 6.19 seconds to win the NCHSAA 4A Indoor State Championships in the 55m in 2023, signed with the University of South Carolina on Friday.
It was a slight shift in thinking. Just two weeks ago, Hughes verbally committed to Kentucky.
But after careful consideration, Hughes decided to change his mind and inked with the garnet and black.
"At the end of the day, I had to make a decision for me and what I was going to do the next four years of my life," Hughes told MileSplit recently. "It was hard to call the coach and let him know, but at the end of the day, I have no regrets because I'm where I want to be now and I'm excited to be there."
The biggest challenge for Hughes was balancing his football season for Parkland Magnet IB (NC), which held their football games weekly on Fridays.
His track official visits would occur toward the end of the week and through the weekend. He knew in his mind that being on a track program for the next four years was where he wanted to be.
"My dream has always been to be able to run track on a divisional level," Hughes said. "It's been my dream forever. I really love football but track was in me. I've been running track since I was four years old. So track was always my No. 1 when it came to sports. So I knew football was my secondary sport. I didn't have the interest to play football at the next level."
As Hughes reflected on his journey, it boiled down to what he was looking for.
He's been following Coach Tim Hall -- recently named South Carolina's coach -- since he was at the University of Kentucky.
Over his career, he coached an Olympic gold medalist, five Olympians, a world record-holder, NCAA champions and over 100 All-Americans.
"I believe in Coach Hall and Coach Hall believes in me," Hughes said.
The additional bonus was that Hughes was going to be roughly three hours from home and joining the likes of Jameesia Ford, a North Carolina native, and Nyckoles Harbor, the five star football recruit and one of the fastest sprinters in 2023.
Hughes' junior season was one to remember as he was able to put all the pieces together.
After earning his first-ever state title, Hughes finished as an All-American with his sixth-place finish at New Balance Nationals Indoor in the 60m.
Hughes ran the fastest 100m in the state with a wind-legal mark of 10.27 as he earned another honor for finishing fifth at New Balance Nationals Outdoor.