Chad Simmons

Columbus High running back is one of Mississippi's best

Columbus High saw running back Kylin Hill make the jump from up and comer to superstar last season. Hill ran for a a career high 1,750 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior despite sharing the load with classmate Kendre Conner. Hill's development and maturation as a football player have really taken off since Coach Randal Montgomery took the helm of the Falcon program.

Coach Montgomery is quick to praise Hill for his work ethic and his willingness to put the team first. From the very first practices at Columbus High, Hill did the things necessary to become the feature back in the Columbus offense.

"When you look at Kylin, you just see a guy who is versatile and can do so many things," Montgomery said. "We can use him in a lot of different ways. We can split him out wide, run him out of the backfield or put him in motion. He probably has the best hands on the team and he's the best running back we have,

"As the season went on, he just got better and better. He is the type of guy that when he recognizes the big moment that he raises his game to the level needed."

In the Falcons' season ending playoff loss to Clinton, Hill ran for 382 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-42 track meet against five star Cam Akers of Clinton. To say Hill was playing his best football when his team needed it most, would be putting it mildly. 

The Columbus coaching staff likes to move Hill around in an effort to put more pressure on opposing defenses. Lining up in different spots simply makes the Falcon offense tougher to corral. 

"When you have a guy like Kylin, you want to come up with all kind of ways to get him the football," Montgomery said. "We want get it to him out of the backfield and get it out to him in space. He is a guy who feels comfortable catching the ball out in space. With him being comfortable with all of that, we can get him out there on an island in a one-on-one match-up. A lot of times, he is going to be able to take advantage of those situations."

Working through the summer workouts and drills, the players who wind up in Hill's workout group need to be ready to work. Coach Montgomery reports that Hill comes to work every single day and he sets a good pace and example for other members of his team.

"All of our guys have bought into the things that we're doing," Montgomery said. "Kylin is a guy that gets in here and works hard. He is the strongest guy pound for pound that we have in here. Everyday, he comes in here with his hat on ready to work."

Montgomery led the Columbus High program to an 8-4 season in 2015. The eight victories are the most in a single season for the Falcons in over a decade. With talk of back-to-back playoff appearances and an SEC future laid out for Hill, a Mississippi State commitment, the buy in from players is high.

While some coaches may be a little reluctant to push a star player, Hill never gets the kid gloves from the staff at Columbus.

"I feel like all of our guys really respect Kylin," Montgomery said. "We coach all of our guys hard and we coach Kylin just as hard as everybody else. I think our guys see the way we coach Kylin and they know that he is a division one guy and they see that we ride him just like everybody else. I believe because they see that, it makes them raise up their own level of commitment and it raises their expectations of what we are trying to do with this program."

While Hill will dominate the highlights for the Columbus High year in review, off of the field the talented ball carrier is far from flashy. Content to simply fit in with his fellow students, Hill does most of his big talk on the field of play. 

"Kylin is a real quiet guy," Montgomery said. "When he is at practice, when he is around us as coaches, he is a real quiet guy. When get he gets around his friends, he gets a little riled up, because that's his comfort zone.

"He is a real laid back, mellow kind of guy. He doesn't talk a lot and sometimes it's hard to pull things out of him, but I can respect that. I know when the team needs him, he is the kind of guy who will turn it up."

Columbus will take part in the fall jamboree at Mississippi State again this fall. The Falcons will be part of the annual pre-season kick off at Davis Wade Stadium on August 13th.

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