Gabriel Hughes


Colorado Rockies - RHP ('23-present)

At what age did you decide you wanted to play baseball beyond high school?

I don’t know that I thought about playing college baseball before my first conversation with a college coach the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I came from an area where most guys went JUCO and few, if any, went D1 so I always figured if I get to play after high school great but if not no worries. However, after having my first conversation with a college coach who told me I had the ability to play after high school I saw that path open up to me and decided playing baseball in college was my next goal. 

At what point did you commit to the college you would play baseball at? What made you feel like that was the right time to do so? How did you decide that school was the best fit for you? Did you feel pressure(s) along the way? 

I committed to playing baseball at Gonzaga University in September of my sophomore year of high school. Before visiting, my parents and I made a list of priorities that we wanted a school to meet if I was to commit there, things like a good academic school, passionate coaching staff, small school feel and close enough to home that my family could come watch me play (these by no means are the only criteria you should evaluate a school on, these were just the ones my parents and I decided were a priority). After visiting, we realized that Gonzaga met every one of these requirements and then some, and I remember my dad asking me “what would be better for you than here?”, a question to which I had no answer and led me to commit. Committing to play at a school is a huge decision and not one to be taken lightly, thankfully I had incredibly supportive parents who guided me without pressure and a coaching staff who didn’t rush me into the decision. 

What has been your favorite part of your baseball career so far?

My favorite part of my baseball career thus far has been playing for the Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2021. I can’t begin to describe the honor it was to wear USA across my chest every game and to be surrounded by the amount of talent present, but when I think back to that summer my favorite memories were just hanging out with my teammates and having fun playing the game I’ve played since I was a kid. 

What did you learn about the recruiting process by going through it? What did you wish you had known sooner?

Having been through the recruiting process in high school and watched it in college I would say the biggest thing I’ve learned is to take your time and not feel any pressure to go somewhere you’re not 100% about. Playing baseball in college is hard and there’s no underselling it. Lifts, class, practice, and homework take up most of your time and it’s likely the first time you’re living away from home. Being somewhere you feel a sense of community, where the school meets the priorities you set, is so important. Take your time, explore your options, and continue your baseball career somewhere you feel comfortable. 

What would be something you'd want a player who follows in your footsteps to know or consider?

The biggest thing I would want a high school baseball player who wants to play in college to know is that college baseball is a grind. All that matters in college is winning and if you can help the team do that you’ll play, simple as that. If not, the impetus is on you to get better. It’s your career and no one is going to put in the work for you; at this point it’s all in your hands, sink or swim. Embrace the responsibility.