Mr. Versatile

NC State coaches knew they had a special player in Anthony Hill when they signed him out of Hargrave Military Academy two years ago.

Hill arrived at NC State after spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy, where he was one of the top athletes on a loaded prep school squad. He starred at defensive end and tight end for Hargrave, and saw his recruitment explode after showcasing his athleticism at the school's annual combine. Measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Hill was timed at 4.75 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 33-inch vertical jump, and did 20 reps of 225-pounds on the bench at the Hargrave combine.

A huge target at tight end, Hill played sparingly as a true freshman in 2004. He received snaps in four games and was used mainly as a blocker in short-yardage situations, failing to make a catch.

This season, in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's West Coast offense, Hill has seen his role increase. The Wolfpack utilizes his natural skills in a variety of areas, as the sophomore often lines up at tight end, fullback, h-back, and has even split out at wide receiver in certain passing formations.

Hill sees it as an opportunity to continue developing as a football player.

"It let's me help the team in anyway I can," Anthony Hill told Pack Pride. "It is allowing me to prove myself in different places.

"I really think it's all about getting me ready for next year. I plan on taking over at T.J.'s position, and it makes me so much more versatile."

T.J. Williams, NC State's starting tight end, leads the Wolfpack in catches and is considered one of the nation's best tight ends. The Wolfpack also has veteran senior John Ritcher at the position, but that hasn't kept Hill from receiving more snaps and producing when called on. Entering the Florida State game, Hill has 12 catches for 125 yards and several nasty blocks in the running game.

"We kind of got a feel of that in the spring when he started to grow up and really take football a little more serious," Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato said of Hill. "He might be the toughest kid on our team. He's a nasty kid during the game, clean, but he's tough. He enjoys contact and he's just a youngster.

'He's A Nasty Kid'

"He's about 6'6 and anywhere from 268 to 275, and he's skinny. He's got good hands. We've got to teach him to not run into the field but to run that way. No, he's made good strides and he's just scratching the surface."

Credit should go to Trestman for finding ways to get Williams and Hill the football in open space. One of Hill's favorite plays is when he lines up at fullback and fakes like he is going to block the outside linebacker but instead he releases in to the flats where he is often left wide open. The Wolfpack ran the play just once against Southern Mississippi, but Hill picked up 26 yards after breaking a couple of tackles in the Golden Eagle secondary.

"I caught a couple of those at Wake, and I had a big one against Southern Mississippi," he said. "I think that's a big play. I just creep out there in the flats. It's wide open grass for me to pick up a lot of yards."

Hill likes to catch passes, all tight ends or skill position players do. However, he also takes pride in blocking, a fundamental he is developing a reputation for as being one of the best on the Wolfpack roster. He opened big holes for freshman Andre Brown this past weekend, as Brown rushed for 248 yards and two touchdowns.

"Oh, I love blocking," Hill said. "That's just more of a mentality that I have. If I know I can basically smash a guy on any given play I'm going to go at him.

"Andre's doing a great job for us though. I always thought he was a great back, and he's running hard. We've got four or five real good backs and Saturday was his day."

Trestman speaks highly of his young tight end.

"I am really excited about what Anthony brings to the table," he said. "He's a smart guy. He's quiet but very smart. He plays very hard and very nasty.

"He's a nasty blocker... he's a very physical blocker. He brings a lot to the table. He's continuing to improve and getting better week in and week out.

He is an exciting player to know that you will have around for a few more years."

NC State fans probably feel the same way.

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