Four years later, those dreams were finally realized, but as one of the top cornerbacks in the country.
The St. Louis Rams selected Hill with the 15th overall pick, making the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder the first cornerback taken in the draft.
"I think it's a perfect partnership for me, to be honest with you," Hill said in a phone interview just hours after being picked. "I think with what they're doing on defense really matches up with what I have already done and what I can do. I look forward to playing for them."
When Hill got that phone call from Rams personnel, a bevy of emotions hit him all at once.
"There was happiness and a little bit of relief," Hill said. "I was just ready to come off the board. I was getting a little antsy."
It's a long way from when he was Clemson's third leading rusher in 2002 with 225 yards on 42 carries.
In 2003, he started 11 of the team's 13 games and was named the defensive rookie of the year by the coaching staff. A year later, he tied a school record with passes defended with 21.
In 2005, he progressed even more and eventually made several All-American lists and was a finalist for the nation's top defensive back.
"I knew what I had to do to get where I wanted to go," he said. "After I started learning the position and started getting better at it, I really thought I could do it."
"Perfect Partnership" for Hill in St. Louis
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