After missing his last scheduled trip to Tuscaloosa, four-star North Little Rock (Ark.) senior wide receiver K.J. Hill made it over the weekend.
The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Alabama target mirrored the current roster from Friday to Sunday.
“I loved being with the players. Everything they did, I did, other than participate in practice,” he said. “I was in position meetings, out with the receivers, with the position coach (Billy Napier), talked to Coach [Nick] Saban. I just got a good feel for up there.
“It taught me how things go up there. Practice, tempo, and things their receivers do and what they expect out of their receivers. They’re play-makers. After every catch, they have to finish and run almost to the goal-line. Robert Foster and Amari Cooper impressed me. Foster was doing well, and coaches were breaking him down on footwork. When they changed it, he adjusted real quickly and did what the coach was saying. Cooper, it’s his speed and what he can do in and out of routes.”
Picking up his official 2015 written scholarship offer from the program shortly after returning to Little Rock, accepting that one could mean he’s up for a versatile role at the next level.
“Coach Saban was saying I can play in or out, he was saying three receivers might leave this year so they need someone to come in and contribute early,” Hill said. “He was like, if I could handle catching punts as a rookie, it’s something I could do to. I do it at NLR, and I want to do it (in college).”
The noted Arkansas high school program in which he carries was once noted for a current Crimson Tide player in sophomore Altee Tenpenny. The host of Hill’s weekend in Tuscaloosa, the longtime friends and former teammates exchanged plenty during their time together.
“I stayed with Altee most of the time, he was just showing me around and showing me the ropes,” he said. “He gives me advice, he was like, ‘just do you, whatever is best for you.’ He says I wouldn’t miss a beat at Alabama, stuff like that. It’s good having him up there, he tells you everything you’d want to know, so I’m comfortable talking to him since I’ve known him almost my whole life.”
Comfort is what Hill says is the top criteria in selecting one school over the others. Along with Alabama, in-state Arkansas, Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State round out his top group of schools. There’s a plan to officially visit each in the fall.
The only other program Hill has been to, to this point, is in Fayetteville. Like Tenpenny, 2014 Alabama signee Josh Frazier and others beforehand, the threat of the Crimson Tide adding an in-state target only increases the pressure he experiences.
“Everywhere you go it’s, ‘Woo Pig Sooie!'” he said, laughing. “I can’t even go to the gas station without hearing it. It still makes me think a little, but I’m getting immune to it, too.”
Alabama and Arkansas remain “up there” for his eventual signature, but Hill isn’t ready to shut the process down just yet.
“All of those schools showed the most love when they recruited me,” he said. “Notre Dame and Arkansas came to see me twice this spring, and I’m comfortable with (Alabama’s) Coach Napier because he’s my recruiter and position coach. Florida needs play-makers, and they think I can help. With Ohio State, Coach (Chris) Ash was at Arkansas, so I’ve been knowing him. They started recruiting me up there, and I like Coach (Urban) Meyer, he’s a player’s coach.
“Once you get to Alabama and have this experience, I know they’ll be (number) one or two on my list, but I haven’t been to three of the (top five) schools, so I can’t really say.”
Hill is tabbed as the No. 32 wide receiver prospect and the No. 245 overall 2015 talent on Scout.com. Highlights from him in action at Nike’s The Opening in July are available below.
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