Though injury has slowed the LSU commitment’s senior season in a big way, Hilliard is still closing in on a 1,000-yard season – with the possibility of something greater to follow.
Hilliard needs to hit 1,335 yards to become the career all-time leading rusher in Louisiana, a record that is currently held by Germaine Williams, who played at LSU and finished his career with 8,048 yards at Acsension Catholic.
“I’m about 50 yards away from getting to 1,000, but this ankle sprain has been giving me some problems,” he said. “I’m trying to go every weekend, but sometimes the pain is pretty bad. I think I will be fine before long, because we still have these next couple of games and then the playoffs.”
The Lumberjacks swept their first three district games, and they will be back in action this weekend against West St. Mary and next Friday at Berwick. While the record remains in reach, it’s a rushing total far from what he had created as the norm.
Across his first three years at Patterson, Hilliard rushed for 6,714 yards and 82 touchdowns. Through eight games of his senior campaign, he’s added only eight touchdowns.
“It’s definitely been an odd year for me, but my goals are to just stay healthy and help this team win, and we’ve done that,” Hilliard said. “Our only losses were to East St. John and Redemptorist, and that was at the start of the year. Both those schools have really good teams, but we are a different team now. I think we have the chance to still make some noise.”
On the recruiting front, Hilliard said that – after a summer visit to Southern Cal – his process has died down.
“Coaches all know that I’m solid to LSU and that I am trying to enroll early and be there for spring camp, so pretty much everyone stopped calling all the time and coming down to see me,” he said. “Coach (Frank) Wilson has been in touch a lot for LSU, and he’s come out to see me and all that. They even still send written letters. LSU was a school I’ve always wanted to play for, and the recruitment process has just made me want it even more. I know I chose the right spot.”
Hilliard joins Jeremy Hill (6-1, 215) and Terrance Magee (5-10, 205) as the three running back commitments to the class, a crop of heavier backs that should give LSU plenty of options over the next few seasons. While Hilliard closed in on 250 pounds within the past year, the 6-foot bruising runner has since trimmed down.
“I’m weighing 227 pounds and feeling in the best shape of my life,” he said. “My feet are moving faster than ever, and we are now able to run a lot of stuff out of an empty set where I can get out and catch the ball. It’s something I worked hard on this offseason and it has paid off. It adds a different part to my game, for sure.”
Hilliard will be in Baton Rouge on an unofficial visit for LSU’s game with Alabama on Nov. 6.