Hills Hopes To Ease Sting of Losing Rice

With the recent departure of Sidney Rice to the NFL, Steve Spurrier and staff will look to a few of their talented incoming freshmen wide receivers to help fill the void left by Rice. One of those young playmakers is Palmetto (FL) standout wide receiver Joseph Hills, who has a combination of size and athleticism that may remind Gamecock fans of a young Sidney Rice.

The 6'4, 210 pound Hills is cautious about trying to replace Rice as a true freshman, but he says he is willing to put forth the effort and hopefully help ease the sting of losing Rice.

"There's no way that I'll be able to replace him as a freshman, but I plan to give them all I've got with my work ethic," said Hills. "Hopefully I can fill half of his shoes and just have a great time playing in college."

Hills has maintained contact with the South Carolina coaches since committing to the Gamecocks in late November, and they have told him to be ready to contribute when he arrives this summer.

"I talk with Coach (David) Reaves all the time and Coach (Steve) Spurrier Jr. and Coach (Steve) Spurrier. They just tell me to keep working, because the sky is the limit for me. They're telling me to keep working hard and be ready. I'm going to try to come in June and be there the earliest I can get there."

The athletic Hills, who excels in going over the middle and winning jump ball situations, has also kept in touch with fellow Gamecock wide receiver commitment Larry Freeman, who he hit it off with on his official visit to USC.

"I talk to Larry all the time. He's a good guy, and we're trying to get a little thing where we work out together. We talk about playing together next year and stuff. It's cool."

Last week Hills participated in the prestigious Offense-Defense All American Game, and he had the opportunity to hang out with several of his future Gamecock teammates at the event.

"That was really nice. I got to hang out with some of my teammates that I'm going to be playing with next year. We bonded really well and stuff like that. It was cool."

According to Hills, one of the highlights of the all star event was meeting USC quarterback commitment Stephen Garcia, who he will be playing alongside for years to come in Columbia.

"Stephen Garcia, that man is a great guy. He's a great football player, but he's a better person. He's cool and understanding and stuff like that. He's from the same area where I'm from, so we're kind of the same."

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