Hill attended Detroit (MI) Crockett as a part of the class of 2013. He only reported offers from Central Michigan and Michigan, and naturally he signed with the Wolverines after committing in February of 2012 (LINK). He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #25 tight end, #13 in the state of Michigan, and #670 overall. I gave him a TTB Rating of 60 (LINK).
Hit the jump for a recap of Hill’s Michigan career.
Hill redshirted as a freshman in 2013. He started four games in 2014, making 4 catches for 37 yards. He started two more games in 2015, making 4 catches for 71 yards in all. He converted to fullback in 2016 after Joe Kerridge and Sione Houma were both gone, and he carried the ball 25 times for 39 yards (1.6 yards/carry) and 10 touchdowns; he also caught 16 passes for 118 yards (7.4 yards/catch) and 3 touchdowns. He got 17 carries for 34 yards (2.0 yards/carry) and 3 touchdowns in 2017, plus 5 catches for 62 yards (12.4 yards/catch).
42 carries for 73 yards (1.7 yards/carry) and 13 touchdowns
29 catches for 288 yards (9.9 yards/catch) and 3 touchdowns
4 kickoff returns for 38 yards (9.5 yards/return)
Hill had an odd, yet predictable, career in Ann Arbor. From my commitment post in February of 2012: “I expect him to play a role somewhat like that of former Michigan tight end/H-back Aaron Shea.” That’s pretty much exactly what happened, as Shea was a guy who played fullback and tight end in college. Hill was listed at 6’2″ and 235 lbs. when he entered college, and he spent the last couple years at 6’2″ and around 260 lbs. He always seemed a little short and a bit of an odd fit as a true tight end, but there were positive flashes in 2014 and 2015. After the 2015 season concluded, there was a huge void at fullback. When the news came out that Hill was going to switch positions, it made sense but was also a little concerning, as he had never taken a handoff before. (To illustrate my fear, check out Sean McKeon trying to take a handoff against South Carolina.) Luckily, that never happened with Hill, who turned into a touchdown-scoring machine and a short yardage demon. His 10 rushing touchdowns in 2016 is tied for #30 all-time at Michigan for a single season, and his 13 total touchdowns led the team, not to mention it was the highest total since Fitzgerald Toussaint’s 13 total scores in 2013. That’s pretty fantastic for a fullback and converted tight end. For some reason, though, Hill’s playing time mystified me over the past couple seasons. He started six games at tight end in 2014-2015, and he only started five in 2016-2017 combined, despite the fact that he was way more productive than Henry Poggi and a better blocker, too. I don’t think it affected the team’s win totals much, but I do believe Hill should have played a higher percentage of snaps.
I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . .
. . . being the Hammering Panda. It was a great nickname for a somewhat rotund battering ram of a football player. And he was a hammer. Even though he never broke a run longer than 4 yards, he was pretty much guaranteed to gain the short yardage needed whenever called upon. That tends to happen when you’re 260 lbs., run with good body lean, and keep your feet moving. Fullback dives for touchdowns are a lot of fun to watch.
Hill was not invited to the NFL Combine, and fullbacks aren’t a huge part of the pro game right now. Teams will usually carry no more than one guy at his position, and as mentioned above, he’s not tall enough to be a team’s starting tight end. If he wants to make it in the NFL, I believe he will have to sign as an undrafted free agent and make the squad as a bit of an oddball guy who goes on the field mostly as a second or third tight end in heavy packages. He could end up being a poor man’s Brandon Manumaleuna.
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