"He's as good a receiver as there is in the nation," Sonny said. "He jumps over people for catches. He dives for catches. He has super hands. He's a terrific player with great work habits."
Detmer coaches Hillyer at Somerset High in Texas. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver verbally committed to Iowa on Sunday after officially visiting the school this weekend.
"It just felt right with the coaches," Hillyer said. "I really liked the area and the guys on the team and I wanted to be part of the family. The coaches were straight up and honest."
Hillyer also held scholarship offers from Colorado State, UTEP and Texas-San Antonio. Detmer said schools like Texas A&M and Texas tried to get involved recently but we're told the receiver was focused on the schools that had been on him for awhile.
"It's too late," Detmer said. "Jacob is the type of kid that sees things real well. Iowa knows what it's doing when it comes to scouting players. They offer and then these other schools come around. They have to check it out because Iowa offered.
"Jacob was impressed with Iowa for some time. He knew they wanted him before the others came around."
Hillyer hauled in 87 balls for 1,648 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior.
"I was under-recruited if you ask me," he said. "Iowa does a great job of finding talent before other schools, though. They can look at a guy and see that he's going to mature."
Somerset is Class 1A D1.
"We're a small school and not many coaches come down here," Hillyer said. "It's OK, though. I found a home at Iowa and have a chip on my shoulder. The chip is good. I have something to prove."
Detmer said Hillyer is every bit as good as Jamaar Taylor, who he coached at Mission (Texas) High. Taylor enjoyed a standout career at Texas A&M before being drafted by the New York Giants of the NFL.
"I think he could be a terrific outside linebacker," Detmer said of Hillyer. "He's a T.O. type receiver, but he's not one of those guys that's going to pick from a bunch of caps at a press conference. He's not into that crap."
Hillyer grew three inches between his sophomore and junior years and the spurt cost him some speed. He ran a 4.5-second, 40-yard dash last summer, Detmer said.
"I think one of the things that could have hurt him was people looking at his sophomore to junior film," the coach said. "He was tall and gangly and people might have thought there was no need to look at him anymore."
Iowa City impressed Hillyer. He also pointed out a comfort with people there.
The new Hawkeye plans to move to town as soon as possible.
"The coaches want me to come out right after graduation at the beginning of the summer," Hillyer said. "They said they're going to need me to play my freshman year and I look forward to that."