Cougs offer defensive juggernaut

AN OVERWHELMING FORCE and a true technician on the defensive line, Derrick Hill (6-2, 270) out of Oakland's McClymonds High spent nearly as much time in the opponent's backfield as he did his own huddle—racking up 30 tackles for loss his junior season. McClymonds alum and Cougar great DeWayne Patterson knows a thing or ten about tackles for loss and playing up front, and has spent considerable time working with the defensive standout.

Palouse Posse legend DeWayne Patterson, who's been a defensive line coach at McClymonds and will be a volunteer assistant this season, is still No. 1 in the WSU record book at 52.5 TFLs. But the Cougs are hoping to land another McClymonds steakeater who over the course of his college career, could give Patterson a run for his money in the category—one Derrick Hill.

"Dewayne Patterson has come back to McClymonds and taught me a number of things in playing defensive line, things that have helped me to the extreme," said Hill. "With the help of him and (the coaching staff), they've really helped me improve my skills."

One of Hill's moves that's turned the heads of college recruiters — the up and under Patterson perfected during his star turn out on the Palouse. A Southern Cal coach is one of many who commented to McClymonds coach Alonzo Carter that Hill had the up and under move down pat.

"That's one of the things all the scouts have noticed about him on film," said Carter, who himself prepped with Patterson at McClymonds. Along with his staff, the Warriors' head man has done a tremendous job building McClymonds into a burgeoning program and recruiting hotbed.

"If you watch Derrick's film, (which will be on CF.C shortly), you'll see Derrick using Dewayne's up and under, his swim technique — all these moves, these patented moves DeWayne Patterson really helped him with."

"He's been a tremendous help," Carter went on to say of Patterson. "He brought his highlight tape and put it on for Derrick and (the players). Oh you talk about eyes lighting up. He had film of himself against Jonathan Ogden, some of the other top offensive linemen he was going against in college. I mean, he was an All-American, quick off the ball and a lot of Derrick's moves are a contribution from DeWayne helping him out, getting him to understand the position and technique a little bit more."

Carter said Patterson will be back at McClymonds this year to help Hill and the others for their final prep season.

"Derrick has really benefited having a guy like DeWayne working with him," said Carter. "I'm dragging DeWayne back out here with me again this year because he promised me he'd come back for their senior year. He's been working with them for a couple years, helping them learn the position isn't just about being a big guy and bull rushing every play. Because DeWayne, oh man, you talk about a technician."

ALONG WITH WASHINGTON STATE, Hill has offers from Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Washington, San Diego State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Utah, UNLV.

Hill said three other schools are also "strongly" recruiting him. Oregon State and USC could be close to offering while Oklahoma called the other night, telling Hill they wanted to see some of his senior season film before tendering a scholarship offer. Hill will possibly attend USC's camp later this summer. He said its early and the list is subject to change, but there are a few that schools who stand out, including the Cougs.

"Right now, my Top 5 is Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and the fifth one is the hard one — I guess I'd have to say Washington or Washington State at No. 5."

"Cal, because they're right there in the backyard and I've spent a lot of time at Cal. I know a lot of players on the team personally. I like Arizona. And Arizona State's defense, they're fast and aggressive. That's something I really like."

Hill said a school with a really good real estate curriculum will be a huge factor, saying he nearly committed to ASU after they talked to him about the real estate program there. He also has family in the Grand Canyon state.

"And I could probably even say Ole Miss is (tied for fifth) as they've shown a lot of interest as well. Their defensive line coach is very young, and he can well relate to the younger athlete, and also be out there physically with us, get down with us when we practice."

COMBINE PERFORMANCES this spring for Hill include tossing up 40 reps with 185 on the bar, a shuttle time of 4.5, and a vertical leap of 25 inches.

On defense in '04, Hill had 90 tackles with 30 TFL, 6 fumble recoveries, 7 forced fumbles, 1 TD and 12 sacks. He was the only junior named first team all-Bay area on defense. He's also been first team all-city as both a sophomore and junior. "It was a cool year but wasn't as good as it could've been — we lost the championship by one point," said Hill.

IN A POSITION COACH at the next level, Hill isn't real particular about the kind of guy he wants to play for..

"I just want a guy who is going to give me an opportunity, that's all I want," said Hill. "Hey, they can be mean, nice, it doesn't matter."

Besides academics, Hill will look at other factors —- earning early playing time is somewhat important but only if he earns it, saying he sees the potential benefits that come along with redshirting over the course of his career, especially if he's not quite physically ready as a freshman to tangle with "the big boys".

"I'm going to have look at other things such as who they have coming back at my position, who is graduating," he said. If they have young players, that gives me an opportunity. Not saying I can start, but second string isn't all that bad for an incoming freshman. Early playing time is important but its nothing that won't make me better if I earn it later. Now I've just got to really sit down and think about everything."

Hill plans on likely taking all five visits before making a decision.

Patterson was a unanimous pick to the all-time WSU team, as voted on by a panel of Cougar football experts as part of the 100-year celebration of Cougar Football back in the mid-90s.

McClymonds defensive line coach this year is Steve Moore, over this year from St. Mary's High.

Carter said Hill, a 3.0 student, has achieved a qualifying test score on the SAT.

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