Tide Football Signee Is Track Honoree

Think of Gatorade and Alabama football and the initial image is of a few Crimson Tide football players picking up a cooler full of sports drink in the final moments of the national championship game, sneaking up behind Nick Saban, and starting the celebration with a dousing of the Bama head coach.

This year, Gatorade has another connection to Alabama football. Grant Hill, a 6-6, 301-pound offensive lineman from Huntsville High School, was part of the Crimson Tide's outstanding recruiting class this year. But the all-state football star has another side.

Hill has been named the 2012-13 Gatorade Alabama Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The award is administered by the Gatorade Company in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports.

Hill is the first Gatorade Alabama Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Huntsville High School. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track, distinguishes Hill as Alabama's best high school boy's track & field athlete.

Crimson Tide Track & Field Coach Dan Waters may benefit from Alabama football signees in the future. Over the years there have been a number of football stars who performed in other sports, though the practice has declined as athletes begin to concentrate on just one sport. Upcoming prep senior cornerback star Marlon Humphrey, though, has indicated that part of his consideration for a college choice will include an opportunity in track.

Hill is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year award.

Hill won the discus with a throw of 176 feet, 1 inch and the shot put with a mark of 54-3.75 at the Class 6A state championship meet this spring, leading the Panthers to a fifth-place finish as a team. Hill's season-best discus throw of 203-7 ranked as the nation's second best performance among prep competitors in 2013.

A football standout, Hill maintained a 3.23 GPA in the classroom and volunteers locally on behalf of a soup kitchen and youth sports programs.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.

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