Anthony Hill was the first commitment in the 2008 recruiting class. From his initial announcement in early 2007 he never wavered in his desire to become a Seminole. Throughout his senior season Hill had a goal to lose weight to meet the requirements from FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins. After losing a little too much weight the coaches decided at the last minute to greyshirt Hill so he can work on his strength, as well as providing him the opportunity to get the healthy weight back necessary to make an impact on the collegiate level.
At the time of his commitment FSU had just struck out on all of its targets in the 2007 class at defensive tackle, primarily Marvin Austin. After not signing one defensive tackle in that year, the early commitment of Hill was a necessity as it helped take some of the sting of not signing anyone at a position of need (DT) in 2007. After not enrolling in the summer with the rest of his class Hill began his prep to become a Nole in January of 2009. As it turns out plans have changed and Hill will no longer be a Seminole.
"Really things have been shaky the past couple months," said Hill about the situation with him and Florida State. "To be honest the whole greyshirt thing was a surprise to me because it came at the last minute. I was supposed to enroll with the rest of my class but Coach Haggins thought I needed to take the time to get stronger. He is a professional so I wasn't going to argue with him. From then on the relationship with him was awkward. Communication is important to me and we didn't talk too much. I was beginning to feel unwanted at FSU, and the whole time other schools were telling me they'd love to have me. Things just built up so now I am not going to be a Nole."
NoleDigest had known that this scenario was most likely going to happen. With the developments of Hill not being ready, combined with the class FSU has for 2009 (as well as the distinct possibility that Kyrhi Thornton is coming in January), it almost seemed like Hill wasn't going to get his chance. Hill and his family are upset with the way things unfolded, and they feel the coaches didn't set him up for success.
"I'm upset because I had been committed since day 1," said Hill. "I put so much into it because I feel that FSU is on the up-rise. I felt that these next few years are going to be their years and I felt that I had a good relationship with the coaches and players. Things happen for a reason and in the end it's a win-win for both sides."
"My mom I think is the most upset from this," continued Hill. "She was making plans to move to Tallahassee. She also felt that they were messing with my future a little bit. Now we have to go through the whole paperwork process and all of that. With all of the responsibilities this is taking more of a toll on her than it is me."
Anthony told NoleDigest that he talked to Coach Haggins last night about the situation. While he didn't want to go into too many details he says that both sides felt it was best that he go a different route.
"I talked to Coach Haggins last night," said Hill, "after trying to contact him for a while. He talked to my mom first then talked to me. I really don't want to talk too much about what we talked about, but nothing that was said was negative. He was telling me that he is under a lot of pressure from people for the way he has recruited and all. I told him they have a good class coming in and that I was to the point were I had made the decision to go somewhere else. We both agreed that it was best that we parted ways."
Anthony now plans to head to South Florida in January. He says he's talked with Coach Jim Leavitt and they've started the process of him getting prepared to enroll for the spring. He says USF is the school for him because they always showed interest in him, even though he was committed to FSU.
"USF is where I am going to go now," said Hill about his new destination. "I feel like they are an up-and-coming and my best friend goes there. It will be cool playing along side him. They showed me a lot of interest throughout this entire process. They always told me how much they wanted me. Even after I initially told them I wasn't interested they kept in contact with me. I talked to Coach Leavitt and we're doing a lot of the technical stuff now like making sure I am able to get admitted there. He wants me to come down for a visit and check out the facilities and everything. I'm set to enroll there in January."
Florida State took Hill's commitment because they needed defensive linemen for 2008. Whether it can be determined as a panic move is one thing because Hill initially looked to be college ready. In the end Hill wasn't what the coaches were looking for, thus they went a different route. Anthony is a great kid who will rebound at USF and have a solid college career.
Stay tuned to NoleDigest for the latest developments with the team, as well as the recruits for 2009.