One of the biggest players in an Arizona State defensive jersey in Monday's first spring practice was a junior college transfer who stood out for more than his size and newcomer status.
Christian Hill a 6-foot-6, 265 pound defensive end out of Glendale Community College, wasn't even cleared to enroll or practice with the Sun Devils until a few days ago.
"The potential holdback was I had a lot of military credits coming in, a lot of those military credits didn't transfer over to ASU," said Hill, who spent three-plus years on active duty in the Air Force. "But we worked on that, worked on getting me into some class, worked on me passing those classes and getting here, so all that effort was worth it, I'm here now."
After getting cleared to participate, Hill was on the field and shadowing ASU sophomore defensive lineman JoJo Wicker through the team's defensive installation period.
“I try and mimic what he’s doing,” Hill said. “I ask JoJo after every play, ‘What are you doing, what’s going through your mind, what are you working on, what are you looking at?’ so I can start implementing some of those things into my regimen.
“Everything you do from the smallest man up to the biggest man it’s all about the bigger picture,” Hill said. “It’s a team-building experience, that’s what coach Graham emphasizes. It’s about knowing the man behind you, knowing the man in front of you and servicing them.”
One of ASU's tallest players, Hill is very angular and has a huge frame. If anything, he looks like he's going to put on more weight as he matures as a football player, which he's only been for the last several years.
Last season, Hill tallied eight tackles for loss and four sacks but dealt with an injury and ultimately didn't finish the season at Glendale. Now Hill will be learning under new ASU defensive line coach Joe Seumalo.
“He seems like he works on technique and the small things,” Hill said. “ There are people who teach and instruct, and he’s a great teacher.”