When scanning the early 2011 recruiting lists for one of the top running backs in the country, Patterson’s Kenny Hilliard is near the top of the board.
Hilliard, a 6-foot, 217-pounder, began getting tons of press as a freshman when he rushed for 1,500 yards. His stock then skyrocketed when he carved up defenses to the tune of 2,377 yards and 34 touchdowns as a sophomore which landed early verbal scholarship offers from LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Minnesota.
On Tuesday, Hilliard’s offer list got expanded on the first day that college coaches could put their offer in writing to 2011 prospects, and that list is now loaded with some of college football’s heaviest hitters.
“I know I got Miami, Notre Dame and Tulsa yesterday (Tuesday),” Hilliard said. “Today, LSU got there and so did Tennessee. I think Texas A&M and Tulane came in too.
“It feels good knowing that those schools thought enough of me to give me a scholarship offer, and It just motivates me to go out and play even harder to see if everybody in the country wants me,” added Hilliard.
Some in Louisiana were worried over the fact that LSU’s offer didn’t arrive on Tuesday, and Hilliard admits that he was thinking about it a little as well. However, one phone call from Patterson head coach Tommy Minton put him at ease.
“At first I was kind of wondering but my coach called and they said they were faxing everything again today,” explained Hilliard. “There was something that went wrong where the school (Patterson) couldn’t get it, but it wasn’t a big deal. I knew I already had the offer and I know how they feel about me.”
The offer from Les Miles and the Tigers carries a lot of weight with Hilliard for several reasons. Among those reasons is that LSU has been in his family for many years as two of his uncles – Dalton and Ivory Hilliard – suited up for the Tigers, as well as two of his close cousins – Mike Calais and Anthony Skinner.
Hilliard said he was smiling from ear to ear when he got the letter from LSU off the fax machine, and with this formality out of the way he is looking to just learn more about the program and build on his relationship that he has with running backs coach Larry Porter.
“We’ve got a pretty deep relationship going and it’s getting better and better,” said Hilliard. “I call him up to check on him and to see what’s going on with the team and to see if everything is going good. He’s one of the guys I can trust and he’s the one I’m closest to, no doubt.”
With the recruiting process only beginning for Hilliard, he is trying to take things in stride and not get too caught up in the hoopla. Still, he has a hard time hiding his feelings on what could be one of the biggest decisions of his life.
“They’re still the school that’s on top,” Hilliard said of LSU. “That’s the one I’ve been building the relationship with the most, and all of the family we have connected to the school makes it even better. A lot of my family went to LSU and there’s a lot of love for that school in my family.”