Hillis is a fullback of remarkable
versatility. He's got the kind of size you like to see coming in, sporting
apprx. 240 lbs. on a 6'2" frame and his strength (385 bench, 500+ squat) is also
What is remarkable about this fullback/running back were his stats that if you do indeed look at him as a fullback make you marvel at his potential. During his junior year, Peyton ran for over 1,500 yards and had almost 250 yards in receiving and that on just 14 catches.
That kind of all around game is not just ideal, it's darn near perfect when you want a fullback that can truly do it all.
Oh yeah, the blocking. Peyton isn't bad at that either. "If I can get my feet up and in front of the guy, there's nobody I can't block." Hillis stated. "I've just always been good at it."
And as you might expect, Peyton isn't one that doesn't take advantage of those huge hits when the opportunity arises. "That's the best feeling in the world, but what's really satisfying is when they don't get up for awhile after you hit them."
I know that when you are looking at an all-around fullback type, you must consider the ball-handling capability and how their hands are, but the basis for all fullback play is in the blocking and who wouldn't love someone that has this attitude and the tenacity to carry it out.
You might even call it a defensive player's mentality.
A young man who shares that mentality is Lance Brandenburgh, a LB out of Kansas , who thrives on just what it means to be a defensive player, what it means to have that mentality. His philosophy on wide-open hits doesn't vary too much though from Peyton's. "My mouth waters." Lance said of how he feels when one is inevitable.
Lance also takes a similar approach mentally to receivers foolhardy enough to come over the middle on him, commenting basically, they take the turn in, they take the risk. "It's not my fault if they come over the middle." Lance said. "I know what I am going to do."
What happens when they come over the middle is often what happens to anyone that gets in Lance's spot on the field. You know, that territory that each linebacker holds dear, daring anyone to enter it. Yeah, Lance has that to, only his is a little larger than most. "Mine is the whole field." Lance said. "I think I am defending the whole thing when I am on the field."
Considering Lance's stats though, it would literally have to be the entire field that he covers, because nobody is going to go his way that many times if he is relegated to just one spot on the field. Almost 350 tackles in the last two seasons is more than considerable. That's almost insane. To Lance though, it's just his job. "I'm just out there playing." he said. "I like to get all over the place and they let me do that and I don't pay attention to numbers."
He doesn't have to, nor does Peyton Hillis. When you put up the numbers these two do, it really doesn't matter. You are going to get noticed.
For Lance, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado have offered him and for Peyton, the list goes: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arkansas, Auburn, East Carolina and Alabama
Questions arise for each, when figuring out where they want to be.
For Lance, it's about being comfortable and getting that gut feeling from places he's been. He's already been to the in-state schools on one-day camps and will be traveling to Nebraska for what could be his only three-day camp. Will that be enough? Will he have seen enough? "I don't know." Lance said. "If everything feels right, I might make that decision before football season starts, but if it doesn't, I'll wait it out, take my visits and then see."
"I wouldn't mind getting it out of the way early, but it's a pretty big decision and I want to make sure the place is right for me."
If Lance does want to get it out of the way early though, he's got someone in mind that he went out of his way to say was his leader. "Nebraska is my leader right now." Lance said. "Their tradition, you have to like and I get along with coach Downing real good. I am really excited to get to camp to see everything else as well."
For Peyton, It comes down to what team does the most with the fullback and he does have a team in mind that does just that. "Nebraska uses their fullback more than anyone." Peyton said. "Out of the teams that have offered me right now, they fit what I want to do."
Ok, that's fine, but there is something about Peyton and that's the fact that he is from Arkansas and much like Nebraska kids, Arkansas kids go to the home state school, that of course being the Razorbacks. Does anything exist that could indeed get this fullback stud out of the Razorback state? "I grew up a big fan of Arkansas, but I am going to do what's best for me." he said. "I have to do what I feel is right and going to Arkansas is great, but going to Nebraska, that's even better."
So, there you have it. Quite obviously a distinct message that NU's one season of despair has sent the recruiting for NU into the depths never to return again. Yep, there's nothing like a .500 season to erase 40 years of whooping people's butts.
Oh wait, I meant Nebraska fans and wouldn't you as a Nebraska fan say that you are glad that at least two outstanding recruits have longer memories than you do?
Definitely something to keep in mind, don't you think?
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619
Make sure to take a trip on over to the RED ZONE, where we give you more from the recruits, comments about Nebraska if any and additional insight into what we think is going on with some of the best standouts in the country.