"He said he was mailing some stuff to me, but I thought he was talking about a media guide or questionairre. But there it was, a scholarship offer from Mississippi State signed by Coach Sylvester Croom.
"I yelled so loud that I think I woke up everybody at my house. I can't calm down about thinking about the opportunity of playing QB in the SEC. This is like a dream."
How does Hillary feel about Mississippi State?
"Coach McCorvey asked me about that during some of our conversations, why I was interested in them. For me, it's a chance to get away from home, but not too far away. They play in the SEC. And Coach Croom is one of the most respected coaches in the profession, and I believe in his vision for the program.
"They have definitely moved to the top of my list. My mom just wants to go over there and meet all the coaches before we make any final decisions. We're going to try to do that as soon as school gets out in June."
Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer was happy for Hillary, who is considered by some to be South Carolina's No. 1 QB prospect: "Based on the interest he has generated, hopefully this is the first of many Div. I offers. My phone has been ringing off the hook. I tease Aramis all the time about how hard it has for me to get other things done with all the calls from college coaches. It has just been incredible."
Hillary said the reason for the sudden interest is because he was unable to fill a stack of college film requests until he was finished with basketball season. His game tapes did not go out until the last week of March.
Within the last two weeks, he or his coach have had direct contact with Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Clemson, East Carolina and Maryland, among others. Hillary said each of the schools quickly informed him he was a scholarship candidate, but want two things: To see him throw in person and spend time with him to see his leadership skills.
"Aramis is a natural-born leader, and has been for our team since his sophomore year," Sawyer said. "The kids follow him because he's a hard worker. He's probably the hardest-working kid I've ever coached."
Last week during spring break, Hillary made unofficial visits to Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. He plans to attend South Carolina's spring game on Saturday.
Hillary said his coach feels like his next offers may be from Virginia Tech and East Carolina. "Coach Petty from East Carolina said their staff had looked at 16 or 20 quarterbacks from across the Southeast and he said they thought I was the best they had seen so far. Coach Petty said I was definitely the most accurate of them all, and probably had the strongest arm."
Last year as a junior, Hillary passed for 1,762 yards and 11 TDs. He also showed exceptional speed (4.68 in the 40) for his size, rushing for 752 yards and 10 TDs. Hillary has already met college entrance requirements with a 2.51 core GPA (3.3 overall) and 900 score on his first attempt on the SAT. He is the nephew of former South Carolina and NFL WR Ira Hillary, who played seven years with the Bengals, including Super Bowl XXIII.
Mississippi State is his third offer, following two-time defending Div. I-AA champion Appalachian State (where older brother Coco plays) and Presbyterian.