Photo by Keyli Chisesi | Go Big Blue Country
Zy’Aire Hughes waited a long time for his opportunity and he was ready to run when it was presented to him.
Hughes, a 6-foot-1, 182-pound sophomore wide receiver, was labeled an athlete out of high school. The McCracken County High School product has tried a little of everything at Kentucky. He redshirted during his freshman season and worked with the wide receivers.
Last season, Hughes appeared in seven games for Kentucky on special teams and even played some cornerback. However, Hughes is best with the ball in his hands and green grass in front of him.
During the third quarter, Hughes scored on a 43-yard touchdown reception after receiving a lateral from Benny Snell. It was the first time he had touched the ball in a collegiate game. Hughes was credited with 49 receiving yards on the play after receiving a lateral behind the line of scrimmage.
The play caught Murray State by surprise; however, Hughes and his teammates knew it was coming.
“Yeah, I was expecting it,” said Hughes. “We’ve been practicing all week. It’s actually called “12 Fish” and it’s a play designed for me to get a reverse and basically score. The whole time I’m thinking that I would score, but to me the play is just a reverse to get yardage off of, but I wanted to score.”
“I knew it was going to be a touchdown,” said Terry Wilson. “I was excited for my man to get that touchdown, that’s huge, so it was a very good thing for him.”
Why is the play called 12 Fish, you might ask?
“My cousins named me that whenever I was younger and they told me I looked like one when I was younger.”
Hughes starred as a quarterback and running back in high school, totaling 4,914 yards and 46 touchdowns through the air. Additionally, he added 2,779 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns on the ground.
Playing quarterback and running back, along with his speed, got him to Kentucky. Now, he’s ready to settle in at receiver and make big plays for an offense that has plenty of weapons on the outside.
“If I get in, I know I’ll do something with the ball and with my opportunity. So, it’s not really frustrating, it’s actually kind of good as long as we’re winning.”