Lafayette (VA) Willamsburg high DE William Hill had a strong season in 2007 by most standards, but according to his own, it wasn't good enough.
"We did real well as a team," said Hill. "We finished 11-1. Individually I had 50 tackles and eight sacks and I was first team All-State defensive end, but I'm looking to improve on that drastically in my senior season. I want go out with a bang."
Based on Hill's measurables and playing style he seems capable of doing just that. However, there is one area of his game in whicch he feels he must show a great deal of growth if he is to achieve his goal.
"My height right now is 6-4, my weight 260, and my forty time is 4.85," Hill reported. "I'm kind of an old school defensive end. I have good strength and I like to overpower people. I can also use my speed when I want to. I'm a good run stopper, but I need to develop a few more pass rushing moves."
A number of college programs have begun seriously courting the talented youngster, and he has already established the criteria that will be used to sort them out.
"Right now the ones that are showing major interest with scholarships are Michigan, the University of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina,Connecticut, and the University of Tennessee," Hill said. "Michigan first started showing interest during the May evaluation period. Coach Jackson came by my school. The things I'm going to be looking for (during the decision making process) are probably academics, the comfort level with the school, the coaching, and the opportunity to come in and battle for a position early."
A trip to Ann Arbor last Friday gave Hill a better feel for the Wolverines. Based on his time in the Great a State, it appears that the they did a good job of meeting his most important requirements.
"Ms. Shari Acho took me through the whole (academic) process," he recalled. "You have tutors three nights a week if you want them, but they're required if it's clear you need them. Basically, they don't let anybody slip through the cracks. On the football side, Coach Rodriguez was saying that they're graduating a couple (of defensive ends) and that I could come in and contend for a spot. Nothing will be given to me, though. Hard work is always required."
Another aspect of the visit that really struck a cord with Hill was his interaction with strength & conditioning coordinator, Mike Barwis.
"I really liked him," Hill said. "He was right up my alley when it comes to what I need at the next level in terms of getting me where I want to be strength wise, speed wise, and just as a person overall. He reminds me of my coach for functional training, but he's a lot more fired up (laughing)."
By trip's end, it was clear that the presentation made by the Maize & Blue had made an extremely favorable impression.
"(Michigan) was a little bit higher then I expected," admitted Hill. "I came in there not really expecting a lot of players to be on campus, but the players were just getting out of a summer workout when I came. Then after that, they showed me around the building a little bit. The next thing you know I went back down and some pro players had come in to workout. I got a chance to watch them for a little bit. Then there were the facilities. They are looking to expand their weight room and they're also looking to build a second indoor facility that is going to be the largest in the nation. You couldn't ask for more. But then there is still Big House which is getting renovations, and that is going to bigger and better. So Michigan actually surpassed my expectations coming in."
Though it's clear Michigan improved it's standing in Hill's recruitment, he wasn't quite ready to name the Wolverines his favorite.
"Right now I don't really have any top schools," he reported. "I'm still kind of open. I want to visit more schools (this summer), but the way my schedule is going... in one more week we hit summer practice, so I don't think (taking more visits) is going to be feasible. I already have my plan for taking visits in the fall. I want to basically travel to the far away schools for my officials, and to the closer ones take unofficials. I really don't know who that might be. It might all change. I might just trim the list and take five. I'm definitely coming back to Michigan, though, to take in the game atmosphere."
After Hill makes it to all of the destinations on his hit list, he won't take much time deliberating. He wants to get his decision out of the way as soon as possible.
"I want to make my decision sometime during the season," said Hill. "I definitely want to make it before the end of the season. I plan on going to school early so I can get acquainted with the coaches and go to spring training."