Oklahoma State freshman running back Justice Hill gained his biggest honor yet out of a fabulous freshman season when in Tampa, Fla., on Monday morning at the Football Writers Association of America Awards Breakfast in advance of Monday night's National Championship Game as Hill was named to the FWAA Freshman All-America Team. Hill was one of three running backs on the team of what is really the most recognized of the Freshman All-American teams.
Hill finished the season with a 19-carry, 100-yard performance with a touchdown in the Cowboys 38-8 win over 10th-ranked Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. That game brought Hill's freshman rushing total to 1,142 yards and he completely wiped out the previous freshman rushing record of 961 yards by Mike Hamilton in Mike Gundy's first season as head coach in 2005. Thurman Thomas held the record for a true freshman of 843 yards in 1984, but now Hill has erased them both.
The 5-10, 185-pound Hill averaged 105.9 yards a game this season and averaged 5.8 yards a carry. He was third in the Big 12 in rushing and there was not another freshman in the top 10. Hill went over 100 yards in six games including the Alamo Bowl and he topped out with 162 yards at Kansas. Hill was named the A.P. Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Three times this season he was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
The Tulsa Booker T. Washington product said the season has been a little surreal, but he did come in with goals.
"At the beginning of the year I wrote my goals for myself and one of the goals was to be the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and all those things," Hill had said in Stillwater before the bowl game. "So being able to accomplish those has been great, but none of those would have been possible without the offensive line and Mason Rudolph and the receivers blocking downfield. I thank all those guys."
"First off, I think he's more talented than some people would have thought, just based on if you put stock into level of recruiting stars or whatever people may use to try to predict a level a player may perform at," Gundy said of Hill's season. "Second, he has a very good mental approach to the game. It allows him to be more mature mentally than most young players. That's helped him adjust to the play of this level. Third, he's very humble. He's not concerned with carries, yards, or necessarily what people think about him. He just enjoys being on the team. Those are pretty key ingredients to a young player having success."