Whether he does or not, he will always embrace the role of best buddy for dozens of young aspiring football players in his neighborhood of Northside Hills. Not only does Hughley work on his own game, study hard in school and do typical teenager things, Hughley also plays football on a regular basis with all those neighborhood kids.
“About two years ago, I saw a lot of kids in the neighborhood tossing the football around and I thought that was cool,” said Hughley, who turned 15 on Sept. 24. “I asked them if I could be their quarterback and they said yes. It was all good from there.”
Hughley said he works with more than 20 of the kids, teaching them what he knows about the game. He also has the youth run drills, play scrimmages and go through practice sessions.
“I also stress to them that academics are more important than football. I tell them they have to study and do their homework,” Hughley said. “I also want to thank the parents who let me teach and play football with their kids.”
A couple of neighborhood youth Hughley has worked with are Tiquavious Taylor, 9, and his cousin Dontavious Miles, 7. Both youngsters really like playing football with Hughley and look forward to seeing him as often as possible.
“Christian is real cool. He teaches us football plays and he’s taught me how to catch the ball,” said Taylor, who lines up at wide receiver when he practices with Hughley. “He’s always telling us to do our school homework.”
Taylor said football is his favorite sport, followed closely by basketball. He also said he wants to play football in middle and high school when he grows up.
Miles said Hughley has worked with him on running with the ball and playing defense and he likes to do both.
“I want to run the ball and tackle people when I grow up,” Miles said. “It’s fun to run and tackle.”
Hughley said the good thing about playing with the kids in his neighborhood is the fact he can teach them to be good people. For example, he had to fuss at Miles for his bad language and Miles has listened.
“Dontavious used to curse a lot when we were playing. I got on him about that and now he’s stopped doing that,” Hughley said. “It’s all about teaching these guys how to be better people as well as good athletes. I like being a role model.”
If that sounds a lot like a future football coach, that’s not far from Hughley’s thought process.
“I wouldn’t mind being a football coach one day and also being someone who gives back to the community,” Hughley said. “I think that will be a good thing for me.”
But before he does all that, he’s got to work on his own game at Griffin High. Hughley plays on the Bears junior varsity and freshman teams at left tackle and dresses with the varsity team on Friday nights. He’s also doing well in school, getting A’s and B’s so far and aiming for straight A’s next semester.
“My goals are to get faster, stronger and bulkier and to get my technique down at the tackle position,” Hughley said. “My line coach, Harold Layton, has really helped me out. I’m looking forward to getting better and better.”