Q&A With North Carolina Commit John Hughes

By: Peter Hamot
Area Scout

One of the top players in the IL ‘24 class, LHP John Hughes (Nazareth Academy), started to emerge as a high-level arm before he even entered high school. After deciding to attend Nazareth Academy, Hughes would go on to be moved up to varsity his freshman year and play a key role for the highly talented Roadrunners squad, assisting in their deep playoff run. 

We recently had the opportunity to discuss the recruiting process with Hughes, his most memorable baseball moment and several other intriguing topics. 

Latest Scouting Report

John Hughes

Class of 2024 / LHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2024
  • Primary Position: LHP
    Secondary Position: 1B
  • High School: Nazareth
    State: IL
  • Summer Team: Top Tier
  • Height: 6-0
    Weight: 190lbs
  • Bat/Throw: L/L

Scouting Report


6-foot, 180-pound, left-handed pitcher, currently ranked No. 180 in the 2024 National rankings. Started on the mound for Nazareth. Extremely impressive look at one of his first starts of his high school career. Has polish and pitchability well beyond his years. Held one of the top offenses in the state in check during his five-inning start. Scattered three hits, two earned runs struck out nine and did not walk anyone. Threw 68 pitches in five innings, 69% of them landing for strikes. Ability to throw three-pitches for strikes at any time. Understands how to hold a running game, make quality two-strike pitches and stayed away from the middle of the plate throughout his start. Fastball sat 82-83 mph (2150 rpm) throughout, velocity plays up, sneaky finish at times, mostly straight action and can locate to both sides of the plate. Curveball continues to make progress. Consistently landed it for strikes early in the count and was able to start it as a strike and finish it out of the zone to act as a put-away pitch with two strikes; sat 67-68 mph and worked off a 1/7 plane with occasional depth. Changeup is currently a well above-average offering. Feel for the bottom of the zone, maintains arm speed and flashed late fade to the arm-side; 73-74 mph. High-follow, high-pitchability left-hander in the 2024 class with more velocity to come.


15U National Championship (7/22/21)

Our Q&A

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?P: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Hughes: I didn't really know what to expect from the recruiting process and it took a little time to get used to it. I definitely wanted to explore as many schools as possible to find the right fit. I was looking for a school that had a great balance of academics and athletics, along with a great group of coaches that would make me feel at home. 

P: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

H: I had always preferred to go away from home, but location was not a big factor in my decision. 

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Where did the school you committed to first see you play?

H: The recruiting process really began to heat up the summer before my Sophomore year. That's when I began to receive real interest from major programs. The University of North Carolina saw me play at one of their prospect camps. 

P: What do you like most about the program you chose, and what were the key factors in making your decision?

H: What I like most about North Carolina is the balance of great academics and great baseball. I really connected with the coaches and they were clear that my commitment was important to them. The facilities and the campus are tremendous. 

P: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

H: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Virginia. 

P: Who is the best player you have faced in your state? What about them makes for a tough opponent?

H: Noah Smith who is now at Louisville. His ability to fight off pitches and continue an at bat until he gets a pitch he can handle was excellent.

P: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college-caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

H: When I was 13 years old l, I closed the championship game of the PBR Midwest Championships at Grand Park against a loaded 2023 Indiana Bulls Black team led by Max Clark.

P: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

H: Don't let anybody tell you what your ceiling is. Work hard and believe in yourself because nobody knows how good you can be. 

P: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

H: The most memorable moment in my baseball career was when I threw a complete game shutout with 15 strikeouts at the 15u PBR National Championships in front of scouts from Michigan, Virginia, Duke, and Louisville.

P: Preview your high school team's season for us. How do you feel your team will be?

H: At Nazareth, we have a group of great players, including several current and future D1 commits. I believe that we are going to be a top program in the state for several years and I think that we have a very good chance of being the 3A state champs this Spring.

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