TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- To sign on the dotted line and commit to playing college football, you have to overcome a lot of obstacles, you have to navigate a host of variables, and at any moment the dream may vanish. For Tupelo's Dalton Hughes, not playing college football was never an option.
"I just love football, I love everything about it," Hughes said. "Like literally everything, the small things, the big things, I mean I've been playing since I was seven, I'm glad I have three or four more years playing."
On Wednesday night, Hughes officially signed his letter of intent to play football at South Alabama but to go through what Dalton has been through in his career, you have to love playing. In his sophomore year, he got to see the field on varsity. Then broke his femur.
"I didn't know if i was going to play football again. I mean, I looked down at my leg and it was bad," Hughes said.
After emergency surgery and recovery, Hughes came back and had a solid junior year, leading to multiple offers including South Alabama. His stock was trending up, he wanted to use his senior to keep the momentum rolling, then in the second game of the year against West Point, he broke his foot.
"It happened in the 3rd quarter and I went to the tent and they told me they didn't want me to go back in," Hughes said. "I said, you're not telling me I'm not going back in, so I ran back and forth, it hurt so bad, they were like run and I did and I was like I'm good."
He played the rest of the game, but afterward, the doctor told him he had a Lisfranc fracture in his foot. His season was finished. And for his mom Alisha, it was the second time in three years she sat by her son in the hospital. Despite being scared for her boy, her message to him was simple:
"I'm really big on things happen how they're supposed to happen," Alisha said. "Sometimes we don't understand why but in the end it all works out the way its supposed to."
In some situations like this, coaches can opt to remove the offer, South Alabama stayed true to their word, but on December 6th, head coach Steve Campbell was fired.
"It was nerve-wracking, I mean a bunch of stuff went through my head," Hughes said. "I didn't know if I could text other coaches, I mean I stopped all my communications with anyone else."
Hughes had this day planned since verbally committing in the spring. It wasn't until last night that the new head coach reached out and said he would honor the offer.
"I mean it's funny, that was the literally the first time I got to talk to him, and then to get the clarification yesterday that I'm going to be signing it was just a relief," Hughes said.
A relief for Hughes and much-deserved break for a young man who has battled through setback, after setback to get to play college football.