Jen Smith on UK Football

Hughes may be on move from wide receiver to defensive back

mcornelison@herald-leader.com

Zy’Aire Hughes has had plenty of experience moving to different positions on the football field, playing running back, quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back in high school.

The redshirt freshman wide receiver is now on the move at Kentucky, too, with coaches trying out Hughes at defensive back for the past couple of practices.

“We’re exploring. We’re looking at him,” Coach Mark Stoops confirmed on Saturday after a two-hour practice/scrimmage combo at Commonwealth Stadium. “This was just his second day out there. Wanted to get a good look at him. It’s a double-edged sword. We lose a bunch of wide receivers after this year, and he’s doing a good job at wide out.

“But we’re getting thin in the secondary, and he’s just so quick. He has such great change of direction. He can run, so I just wanted to look at him a bit.”

Defensive coordinator Matt House seemed high on what the former McCracken County star could bring to that position.

“He's a quick twitch guy, now,” House said. “I'm excited to see him improve. … He's hungry to learn, which is huge.”

Two of Kentucky’s most versatile defensive backs, Marcus McWilson and Blake McClain, graduated and nickelback Kendall Randolph is out for the rest of the spring after ankle surgery.

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