During the spring and into the summer, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.
These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.
Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.
PLAYER: Javon Hill
SCHOOL: Miami Monsignor Pace
40 SPEED: 5.56
HEAD COACH: Joe Zaccheo
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 55
I remember it like it was yesterday. There he was, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound sophomore, pulling out on running plays and protecting the quarterback like he had done it all of his life.
In a season when his McArthur High Mustangs were one of the best in the state, losing to Miami Edison in the third round of the playoffs, Hill, a sophomore, was impressive – to say the least. When I first laid eyes on this monster of a young man, I started to make calls, telling everyone about this future star. I could hardly believe what an impact he was making and how well he handled himself for someone who was just 15.
As I spoke with his then head coach Keith Franklin, the veteran coach could only smile and tell me that Hill had as much promise and future ability as anyone he had ever coached, and he had been around some quality athletes.
As his sophomore season came to a close, the name Javon Hill was now out there. Recruiting services who had never watched him play, suddenly had his name on lists for the 2006 class, and a player who nobody had ever heard about, was suddenly part of a McArthur line that many considered as one of the best in the state.
But as quickly as fame came to Hill at McArthur, things started to change. Franklin left to take over Fort Lauderdale Dillard, and the thought of staying at a school that was quickly losing direction and some of its players was not what Hill wanted. He and three teammates decided to head into Miami-Dade County and play for a Pace program that was coming off a 3A state title.
While his junior season didn't finish the way he thought it would, losing to Tampa Jefferson in the South Region finals, Hill was now on the map as a rising senior who would be recruited for his outstanding play on the football field and quality work in the classroom where he had posted an impressive 3.2 grade point average.
STRENGTHS: I have been fortunate to have watched this young man play seven times since his sophomore season, and continue to be impressed by his ability to open holes on running plays and improve as a pass blocker.
I say forgot about the fact that he ran high 40 times at some combines and camps. Linemen never run 40 yards any way. The thing that thrills me about this standout is his ability to play football, and no matter how many camps and combines you attend, the name of the game is still football, and Hill will be proof of that!
Last season, as I watched him four times, I watched his footwork, saw how his strength and quickness worked to his advantage and how he learned how to run block and open holes. He is a smart young man who thinks ahead of the game.
With his superior size, he was often matched against defensive players he was more than four to five inches and 100 pounds more than. But as much as you would think he would dominate the smaller players, Hill had to learn to stick with blocks when his is so much larger than they are.
"I always felt that Javon would have problems blocking smaller linemen," said Franklin. "I tried to tell him that being bigger and stronger than the opponent means nothing if you don't have the technique down."
WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: The first thing that Hill needs to do is keep is weight down. A 300-pound Hill will be more effective – all the way around!
Because Pace wasn't a passing machine, Hill really needed to work on that phase of his blocking. Against Tampa Jefferson, Glades Central and Plantation American Heritage, he was in a position where smaller, quicker defensive linemen gave him problems when his team had to use the passing game to compete.
OVERALL: This is a quality person who has a great support system from his family. His love for the game was also evident when he showed up both days for the March FloridaKids.us/Perfect Competition Camp/Combine.
There is little doubt that he is headed for bigger and better things over the next four to five years.
COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: While Florida State, Miami and Florida are among his early favorites, Hill could really make a tremendous addition to a school like Northwestern, Duke, Georgia Tech or Stanford where he could parlay his tremendous grades to have a sound football career.
Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE – CODY CLINTON
IN THE HUDDLE - JARED MARTIN
IN THE HUDDLE – COLIN MCCARTHY
IN THE HUDDLE - DONTAE JONES
IN THE HUDDLE - DAMON PIFER
IN THE HUDDLE - CHRIS SORCE
IN THE HUDDLE - SHOMARI GRANT
IN THE HUDDLE - DARRELL ROSEMAN
IN THE HUDDLE - JAMES POE
IN THE HUDDLE - RYAN ELLIS
IN THE HUDDLE - COURTNEY JONES
IN THE HUDDLE - BRYAN THOMAS
IN THE HUDDLE - JORDAN DALRYMPLE
IN THE HUDDLE - PRESTON PARKER
IN THE HUDDLE - SABBATH JOSEPH
IN THE HUDDLE - RYAN KHAWLY
IN THE HUDDLE - BRANDON JAMES
IN THE HUDDLE - KEITH HOUSTON
IN THE HUDDLE - REGGIE ODOM
IN THE HUDDLE - C.J. SPILLER
IN THE HUDDLE - RILEY COOPER
IN THE HUDDLE - JAMES JAMISON
IN THE HUDDLE - DESMOND GEE
IN THE HUDDLE - RICKY GARY
IN THE HUDDLE - LAURANCE MARIUS
IN THE HUDDLE - KENRICK ELLIS
IN THE HUDDLE - RICHARD JACKSON
IN THE HUDDLE - LABRANDON GLOVER
IN THE HUDDLE: Javon Hill
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