April 27, 2013

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin senior Montori Hughes became the first Ohio Valley Conference player selected in the 2013 NFL Draft when the Indianapolis Colts traded up to snag the defensive tackle in the fifth round (139th overall) this afternoon.

Hughes becomes the 12th player in UT Martin history to be picked in the NFL Draft and first since Fred Thomas (second round, 47th overall) was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks in 1996.

The Murfreesboro, Tenn. native anchored the Skyhawk defensive line the past two seasons after transferring from the University of Tennessee. Consistently facing double and triple-teams in the trenches, Hughes tallied 72 tackles (29 solo), 15 tackles for loss, five sacks and 16 quarterback hurries over the span of 22 games.

The 6-4, 329-pound Hughes earned Phil Steele All-American and Sports Network All-American accolades after a dominant 2012 campaign. He ranked fourth in the OVC in sacks (four) and registered 8.5 tackles for loss to go along with 13 quarterback hurries on his way to first team All-OVC honors.

Hughes’ best career game at UT Martin came on the road at Eastern Illinois on Oct. 22, 2011. In that game, he tallied 10 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss (the most by any OVC player all season), a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to help the Skyhawks to a 24-23 victory. For his efforts, he was named the College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Performer of the Week and National Defensive Lineman of the Week while also capturing OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

In January, Hughes made a name for himself while playing amongst the nation’s best collegiate players in the Senior Bowl and Raycom Football All-Star Classic, both held in Alabama. He was then one of three OVC players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in late February, ironically held in Lucas Oil Stadium – the home of the Indianapolis Colts.

Hughes will join a Colts squad that is coming off an 11-5 record in 2012 under head coach Chuck Pagano. Indianapolis advanced to the playoffs, where it fell to eventual Super Bowl winner Baltimore in the wild card round.

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