Note: This is No. 5 of a series of 10 profiles on the top 10 former TCU athletes still working in professional sports. The rankings, while completely unscientific and definitely up for debate, are based, in part, on the players' current and recent success, their status on their team and in their league, and their career achievement. Please feel free to complain about the order or any omissions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your argument and perhaps you'll convince me to add them to a best of the rest list after we count down the top 10.
No. 5 Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills
He wasn't the first (and certainly not the last) player to make a major position switch when arriving on the TCU campus, but Jerry Hughes epitomizes Gary Patterson and his coaching staff's ability to find the best spot for an athlete to excel.
He went from a very good high school running back to an All-American defensive end and became the Horned Frogs' first first-round draft pick (No. 31 overall by the Colts in 2010) since LaDainian Tomlinson was taken by the Chargers with the 5th overall pick in 2001. After three seasons with the Colts, Hughes was traded to the Bills in the 2013 off-season.
With more playing time, Hughes has excelled in Buffalo. He's started all but one game for the Bills the past four seasons and compiled 35 sacks in the five seasons since the trade, including consecutive 10-sack seasons in 2013 and 2014. Hughes isn't an NFL star, but he's proved to be a reliable, steady force on the edge (or at linebacker) in his eight seasons in the NFL. In 2017, his 10.5 run stuffs was the fourth most in the NFL, behind names such as the Texans' Jadeveon Clowney, the Cowboys' Sean Lee and the Cardinals' Chandler Jones.
Hughes was a consensus All-American in 2008 and 2009 and led TCU to a combined 23-3 record in his last two seasons. In his senior year, Hughes led the Frogs with 16.5 tackles for a loss, including 11.5 sacks and helped lead TCU to the Fiesta Bowl, the school's first BCS game. His legacy remains strong in the TCU program and after helping the Bills back to the playoffs after a 17-year drought his professional career continues stronger than ever.