Surviving Real Tragedy

As he started to prepare for his junior season at Maynard H Jackson (Ga.) High School, athlete Jimmy Hill was ready to start popping up on college coach's radar. That was before tragedy stuck.

MADISON - Maynard H Jackson (Ga.) High athlete Jimmy Hill approached his junior season at his area Atlanta school as his opportunity to turn from a sleeper prospect into a high-level recruit.

But when the death of his brother shocked his family, Hill stepped aside for three games and battled with his focus since trying to put tragedy behind him.

"I think I didn't show that much effort into every game, which I'm capable of showing my talents on the field," Hill told Badger Nation. "I could have improved more."

Hill's brother, Curtis Jordan, was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in late September, gunned down when he was playing football with his nieces and neighborhood kids in northwest Atlanta. It happened just days before Jordan was going to come to see Hill play for the first time that season.

"I think about him every day," said Hill. "I (think) about him during school. It seems fake."

Not only did Hill have to battle tragedy, he had to battle through a team with plenty of senior leadership. Stuck behind established players, Hill did his best to take advantage of his opportunities. In the seven games he played, Hill had two fumble recoveries and an interception for a touchdown.

"I know when it was my chance on the field I showed the crowd, coaches and whoever else watching me that I'm a very athletic, talented player," said Hill. "I know that next year I would be starting, so we'll see how next season goes for me."

Hill understands that his opportunity for serious playing time will come next year, so then he can show his athletic ability he posses to his coaches and schools looking at him. With the personal problems his family experience off the field taking away from his production on it, recruiting has been quiet and has been limited to college letters and messages.

"I've had a lot of coaches say that I need film, GPA, SAT and ACT scores," said Hill. "I know that grades are the most important thing if you're trying to go to college for football. The main thing I need to do is take the SAT and ACT test or else no one would want me. I have had two or three recruiters I've met and had phone conversations with tell me the same thing if they want me to be recruited by them."

Hill said he's been contacted by Alabama State, Florida Atlantic, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and West Georgia to express early interest, but that's as far as the relationship has gone without a highlight film or test scores.

"Those are the most important things they must see because they don't know what I'm capable of doing on the field and in academic area yet," said Hill. "Hopefully I will have a lot of interest in me by next year."

In addition to the schools already showing him interest, the 6-0, 220-pound athlete is planning to send his film and test scores to the University of Wisconsin, especially since defensive back coach Ben Strickland has started to recruit the Atlanta area and UW recently received a commitment from an under-the-radar cornerback, Tiquention Coleman, from Milledgeville.

"Wisconsin is a good school and I would love to get the opportunity to attend there and play football there," said Hill. "I'm actually a big fan of one of Montee Ball. When having a coach like Bret Bielema leading the Badgers to consecutive Rose Bowl appearances, of course I'll go there. Wisconsin's team is very diverse and also I love it because they are in Big Ten. The football team has the skills and talents out there on the field. If I had a scholarship from them, I would take it. I would do whatever it takes to get to that level of football."

While Hill has been a tough critic on his recruitment and his season so far, but he feels quite the opposite about his game.

"My game is awesome," said Hill. "I mean when people hear of my name, they love to come out and see me play. I have the speed, toughness, ability to help win football games and making plays on the field. I've been playing football since the age of four. I would say the only thing I need to work on is learning all the plays and my footwork, but on the other hand I'm still able to make plays on the field when is needed."

Hil plans on taking visits to Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and West Georgia and hopes to make his way up to Wisconsin before next season.

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