Justice Hill is the most loyal, based on longevity, of all the members of the Oklahoma State 2016 class of recruits. The running back from Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School verbally committed to the Cowboys before the 2015 class had even signed their letters of intent. It was so long ago that Hill committed to then running back coach Jemal Singleton, who has coached at Arkansas and is now with the Indianapolis Colts.
Hill was thought to be the top running back in the state of Oklahoma and then proved it his senior season with 198 carries for 1,948 yards and 32 touchdowns. That is a whopping 9.8-yards per carry, about three times what Oklahoma State averaged per rush as a team in 2015.
Okay, different level with NCAA Division I versus Oklahoma Class 6A-Division II, but production in the weight room under Rob Glass will translate and Hill came in and became just the fifth true freshman in the Gundy/Glass era at Oklahoma State to win the "Iron Cowboy" medal as a freshman. That is a combined 1,000-pound lifter in the weight room with bench, squat, and power clean. He joins company like Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant, really solid company.
"Yes, he's quiet," quarterback Mason Rudolph said when asked about Hill. "He is really a strong dude. Coach Calcagno was talking about all the weight he was doing this summer on the squat. He is just a built freshman, really, really big for a freshman guy. He runs strong and cuts really well and he is giving us some depth at running back, some fresh legs and I think he will do well."
Hill took his strong first impression from the weight room and conditioning workout this summer to the stadium turf with his teammates in the metabolic practices. He was a freshman that stood out. Then when practices started he immediately made an impression on head coach Mike Gundy, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, and running backs coach Marcus Arroyo.
Hill didn't say much but spoke with is effort and actions. Full speed all the time, and seemingly studied up and paid attention so as to understand what the coaches wanted. Gundy loves to throw freshman running backs that show promise into the "deep end of the pool" in the first scrimmage. Last Saturday, Hill swam like an Olympian as he scored on a long touchdown run with a stutter step move to shake loose and then he outran the first team secondary to the goal line. He scored again later on another run.
"I've never heard him talk," Gundy said when asked about Hill being quiet. "If you put him and James Washington (another quiet player) in the same room, nothing would ever get said."
Reminded that a lot of his great running backs both as a teammate (Barry Sanders) and as a head coach (Kendall Hunter) were quiet guys, Gundy was hopeful.
"They were quiet guys," Gundy said. "I hope he follows in their path."
He has definitely put himself in position to play, maybe to play a lot.
Hill wanted to be a Cowboy. After he had pledged, schools like Houston, Kansas, and Louisville tried to change his mind.
"The first memory I have is just the color orange," Hill said to Scout and Go Pokes. "That's been my favorite color since. I've always been an Oklahoma State fan. And with coach Gundy and everyone else up there, it's just a nice environment. I've been committed to OSU since I've been committed."
Actually, maybe before as some brainwashing at home may have taken place as his father, aunt, and uncle are all Oklahoma State graduates.