"They are definitely at the top of my list with Mississippi State. My mom said the decision is mine, but that I couldn't commit to anywhere until she meets the coaches and discusses academics. We're going to hit the road as soon as school gets out in June."
Hillary made the 10-hour trip to East Carolina with his high school coach. He said he got to spend a lot of quality time with head coach Skip Holtz: "He was a great guy and kept talking about my personality. He said I smiled a lot and just lit up the room when I walked in. He said I was the type of quarterback who would be great as the face of the program. I really felt at home at ECU."
East Carolina was the fourth school to offer Hillary, who is considered by many to be South Carolina's No. 1 QB prospect. The others are Mississippi State, Appalachian State (where brother Coco plays) and Presbyterian. East Carolina made the offer despite never seeing Hillary throw in person.
"They said they had seen all they had needed to see on my film, making plays against some of the best teams in the state in real games," Hillary said. "They feel like camps are over-rated, and that I didn't have to throw for them this spring. However, I am a competitor and will throw at every camp."
Hillary will be throwing at the Elite 11 QB regional camp in Atlanta on Friday, and the following day at Nike Camp in Athens, Ga. It has been a whirlwind week for Hillary: Last Saturday, he was told to come early to South Carolina's spring game and spent about 15 minutes with Steve Spurrier. "He told me they had four good QBs but they were all alike, dropback passers with big guns. They wanted to sign a QB this year who could both pass and run."
On Sunday, Hillary was surprised to hear from Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges and head coach Tommy Tuberville: "It was a great conversation. Coach Borges seemed like the most excited person in the world to talk to me. He said they had looked at 80 QBs so far and that they had me No. 1 on their board. I almost dropped the phone when he said that, but he insisted it was true.
"He wants me to come to Auburn football camp and said I didn't even have to throw or work out. He said we would spend a lot of time talking to me while everything was going on and he would show me around campus. But again, if I go to any camp, I am going with my workout clothes. That's just who I am. I love to compete."
Hillary said he or his coach had also had contact with Tennessee, Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland, Georgia, Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, among others. Hillary is one of the South Carolina's hottest prospects. He said the reason for the recent wave of heavy interest was because he was focused on playing basketball and was unable to fill college film requests until the final week of March.
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.