Former Cougar Hughley Named Arena Football's Ironman of the Year
PHILADELPHIA — Former Averett University football standout and current Philadelphia Soul wide receiver/kick returner Jeff Hughley was named the Arena Football League's 2012 J. Lewis Small Ironman of the Year this week, less than two weeks after being named to his third consecutive All-Ironman Team.
Hughley, who played for Averett from 2003-2006 and set numerous team receiving records, was one of six multi-position players selected to the All-Ironman Team on July 31. Hughley is in his first season with Philadelphia after playing for the Arena Bowl champion Jacksonville Sharks last year. Philadelphia will face the Arizona Rattlers in Friday night's ArenaBowl XXV, giving Hughley a chance for back-to-back titles. ArenaBowl XXV will be aired live on the NFL Network at 10:30 p.m. (EST).
Hughley has heavily contributed to Philadelphia's success on offense and special teams this season as the Soul enter the AFL Conference Championships later this week after knocking off New Orleans in the opening round of the playoffs. The former Averett star has made 77 receptions for 1,001 yards and 19 touchdowns for an average of 13.1 yards per catch and 55.6 per game. He has also returned 92 kicks for 1,865 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, Hughley is the team's leader in all-purpose yardage with 2,885 total yards and has added 24.5 total tackles.
"Jeff is a great example of how hard work and dedication pays off," Soul coach Doug Plank said in a team release. "He brings an extra dimension that teams need to account for on special teams and his ability to make tacklers miss made him a threat to return any kick return or turn any reception into a touchdown."
In the AFL, Hughley is tied for No. 1 in kick return touchdowns (5), No. 2 in kick returns (92), No. 3 in kick return yards (1,865), No. 6 in kick return average (20.3), and No. 7 in all-purpose yards per game (160.3). The All-Ironman Team member earned JLS Ironman of the Game honors seven times, Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game twice, AFL Playmaker of the Game once, National Guard MVP of the Game once and the League's Offensive Player of the Week honors once in 2012.
Success after college is nothing new for Hughley. Last season with Jacksonville, Hughley had 2,650 all-purpose yards and 24 total touchdowns, with 1,171-yards and 22 scores coming on offense and 1,429 return yards and one touchdown as a kick returner during the regular season. In 2010, He had 113 receptions for 1,258 yards and 28 touchdowns, 1,551 return yards and 2,808 all-purpose yards in 2010 for Tulsa, which made the move from the Arena2 developmental league to the Arena League.
Starring for Tulsa in 2009, Hughley set the af2 league records in all purpose yardage (4,113) and kickoff return yards (2,069). He was rewarded by being named the Ironman of the Year, the league's MVP award. He also finished inside the league's top five in receiving yards, kick return average and scoring while helping the Talons to the conference title game.
During his rookie season in 2007, Hughley helped guide the Talons to the franchise's second af2 Arena Cup Championship. Hughley earned the MVP award in Tulsa's 73-66 championship win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers. He caught nine passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns and he returned seven kicks for a total of 203 yards and two touchdowns. His 203 kick return yards and his 346 all-purpose yards were both Arena Cup records.
Hughley finished the 2007 season with 84 receptions for 1,069 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 42 yards and three scores and even threw for an 11-yard touchdown. Hughley was also on special teams, where he returned 63 kicks for 1,363 yards and three touchdowns. He also recorded a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown. Hughley returned to the Talons in 2008, catching 123 passes for 1,629 yards and 33 touchdowns while returning 64 kicks for 1,298 yards and one touchdown.
Release courtesy of the Averett sports information department.