Southmoreland Big Man Goes Camping

When thinking of Southmoreland High School, most Pitt fans think of Russ Grimm. Grimm, of course, came to Pitt as a quarterback, quickly moved to center, and the rest is history. Southmoreland has another lineman that has recently picked up some college interest, and is making it to a lot of camps this summer.

Kekoa Hillen is a 6-1, 278-pound defensive tackle prospect. As a junior, Hillen started at linebacker and at offensive tackle. He finished with 75 tackles playing at middle linebacker, including a sack and a forced fumble.

This year, Hillen will move to nose guard. He was a first-team all-conference selection as a linebacker last season. As a junior, Hillen showed he can move around well for a big guy, and make plays. This year, going to a down position, he has a chance to showcase his strength coming off the ball, out of a three-point stance.

Recently, some schools have been starting to show interest.

"Actually, it's been kind of busy, I'm shocked," Hillen said of his recruitment. "I know Wisconsin, West Virginia came in. Cincinnati, Ohio, Buffalo. It's pretty exciting."

Pitt is another school in the mix. Greg Gattuso has been recruiting Hillen a little bit, has been at his school, and invited Hillen to come to Pitt's prospect camp two weeks ago.

"(Gattuso) came in once, then came another time," Hillen said. "He's a nice guy."

Hillen said the Pitt camp, his first camp experience like that, made him a little nervous heading in, but after a few reps, he was able to relax and perform well.

"I was a little nervous," Hillen said. "By the (afternoon) practice, I was kind of okay. I got the hang of it."

Hillen worked out with both the offensive line and the defensive line, even though most schools are recruiting him more on the defensive side of the ball. If he could do it all over again, he'd wish for a better 40 time.

"If I had to do it all over again, I'd take (the 40 time) more seriously," Hillen said. "I thought, ‘hey, this is kind of nice,‘ but then my 40 time was not so well. It wasn't my game."

He picked up feedback from both offensive line coach Tony Wise and Gattuso, after working out on both sides.

"The defensive coaches were more vocal to me, showing me how to move better," Hillen added. "It helped a lot."

Hillen may make it to a few more camps before the summer is over, and is hoping to make a few more unofficial visits. He'd also like to get out to a few more schools for some games--unofficial visits--in the fall. The only thing he knows for sure is that he will play defense.

"Defense is easier for me," Hillen said. "I love defense. Mostly everyone (is recruiting) for defensive tackle. You just get to (hit) some people, or at least you get to try. I love defense."

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