Sunday, January 30, 2011

the recruit: D.J. Hill

Name: D.J. Hill
Position: LB
Hometown: Covington, GA
School: Newton
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215

ESPN: 77; three stars; #81 OLB
Rivals: 5.6; three stars; #41 ILB; GA #83
Scout: three stars; #103 OLB

Other offers: Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee

D.J. Hill is a little bit of a forgotten recruit in this class, on account of committing outside of this year's happy hunting times (summer and postseason) and not living within 100 miles of UVA. As a Georgia boy (a place where I'd love to see UVA do a little more recruiting) he's easily the furthest-afield recruit in the class, some 150+ miles further out than Tim Cwalina and his Pennsylvania roots.

So there's a little bit of anonymity, so UVA fans may be surprised to find out Hill is the highest-rated linebacker recruit we have. We're all rooting for that to change, of course, with the potential addition of Curtis Grant, but until then, Hill is the best we have if you buy into the scouting rankings.

There's good reason to, as they're all very consistent. Whether he ends up on the outside or inside is a mystery, but outside seems like a good bet if ESPN's correct in saying he has "advanced coverage skills." He's more athlete and quickster than anything, a fit with what Mike London is looking for. Hill was also Newton's featured running back and fast enough to be a prolific base-stealer for Newton's baseball team.

As mentioned, the services are awfully consistent in their rankings of Hill. Rivals has him as the #41 ILB, which might seem a lot higher until you remember there are about twice as many OLBs as ILBs. So it's about the equivalent of #80 in the country. Scout lists quite a few other offers that only one other source anywhere seems to corroborate, but UVA and Ole Miss would probably be the top two on anyone's list whether or not UAB or Southern Miss is a candidate. Ultimately it's a thinner list than you might expect given his ratings; Hill looked for offers from Georgia Tech and South Carolina but they never materialized.

His future at UVA is pretty much the exact same thing as I talked about in Darius Lee's post last month. There's a huge gaggle of linebackers who'll be redshirt juniors next season, and the only linebacker we have or might have that can leapfrog them is Curtis Grant. Hill, Lee, Caleb Taylor, and the rest - whoever among them ends up pegged at linebacker (and Hill isn't going anywhere else) - are sure bets to redshirt, but they're also going to find themselves with a free and clear path to playing time after two years of patience. Unless there's a lot of superstar linebackers coming to UVA in the next few years, Hill looks like a three-year starter - and because of the experience he'll have as a fifth-year, a fringe all-conference candidate - as long as he develops on track.

No comments: