Hill Climbing To The Top

A talented big athlete from in-state has teams taking a second look when they drive down Highway 280.

Smiths, Ala.--Though he hasn't garnered as much early attention as his teammate Mitchell Thomas, the name of defensive end/tight end Michael Hill will likely be a household word among recruiting fans by the time Signing Day 2003 rolls around next February.

At 6-3, 270 pounds with speed in the 4.8 range for the 40-yard dash, Hill has that rare blend of size and speed that colleges are looking for in today's world of faster and more aggressive defenses. Known for disrupting plays at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield, Hill notes that he's already beginning to hear from some of his favorite schools across the South.

"I've already received letters from Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia and some other schools," he tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I have offers from both Auburn and Alabama already and I'm waiting to hear from some of the other schools."

Those offers should begin pouring in when Hill starts his summer tour of campuses as he attends football camps at many of his favorites going into his senior season. "I'm going to Auburn's 7-on-7 passing camp," he notes. "I'll also be going to Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee for their senior camps."

A productive player on the both sides of the ball last year for the Panthers despite constant double-teams by his opponents, Hill had 48 tackles and three sacks in addition to causing two fumbles on defense. On offense at tight end he had seven catches for 115 yards.

A native of South Carolina, Hill moved to Smiths Station High School his sophomore season and things began to fall into place for the big youngster. Playing behind current Georgia lineman Reggie Weeks for much of the season, Hill was forced into the lineup when Weeks went down with an injury against Opelika and he became a mainstay on the field from that moment forward. Now preparing for his senior season, Hill says it took a while to get used to things in a new environment.

One thing he didn't have to get used to was a fierce rivalry. Growing up in South Carolina, Hill says that he probably liked Clemson a little more than South Carolina but just like in Alabama, you had to pick a side.

"It's pretty much the same here," he says with a laugh. "I just had to get used to the language here. The people talk real country so that took some getting used to."

Hill and his teammates close out spring practice this Saturday at 7 p.m. with a scrimmage to be held at Smiths Station High School. Working through injuries to several key players this spring, Hill says this team should be fun to watch, particularly on defense.

"Our defense has been strong all spring," Hill notes. "Once Mitchell Thomas gets back our offense will be strong as well. I think we're going to be really good this year."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Hill's teammate Mitchell Thomas is considered one of the top prospects in the state of Alabama for this upcoming season. A 6-2, 215-pound tailback/linebacker, Thomas is hearing from schools all across the country but is expected to stay close to home with Auburn and Alabama the top contenders at this time.

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