Goodbye, Khalid Hill

Goodbye, Khalid Hill


March 7, 2018

Khalid Hill (image via BTN)

HIGH SCHOOL

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.

COLLEGE

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).

CAREER STATS

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)
1 tackle

AWARDS

None

SUMMARY

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.

PROJECTION

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.

32 comments

  1. GKblue
    Comments: 276
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Mar 07, 2018 at 8:26 AM

    “the hammering panda”, “never broke a run longer than 4 yards”. This is a guy we will talk about in years to come (with a short yardage smile) and the youngsters won’t have an idea why.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the link back to the 2013 TTB ratings. It is amazing to see these with the benefit of hindsight. And the all star posters Thunder, Roanman, and Lanknows…! The guy who really nailed it was td61.

    td61February 14, 2013 at 10:19 AM
    I think your (and some of the services) rating of Smith is WAY too low. Looking at his film he just gets it done. I predict he has more career yards than Green by the time they are both done. A 95 vs 63 ratings difference between Green and Smith is way off.

    Reply
    Replies

    ThunderFebruary 14, 2013 at 7:11 PM
    We’ll see.
    ——–
    Kinda did. Green was such a disappointment – GK

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2605
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 07, 2018 at 1:19 PM

      In hindsight, Green was ranked too high, and Smith was ranked too low. But Smith wasn’t a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination. His career 4.5 YPC is tied for 141st in Michigan history. Smith should have been somewhere in the 70s, and Green should have been in the 50s or 60s.

      • Comments: 1154
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Mar 07, 2018 at 2:31 PM

        Lots and lots of people missed on Green.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3768
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 08, 2018 at 12:51 PM

      Smith was the best Michigan RB since Hart/Perry. 2,200 yards and 22 TDs. All conference honoree who beat out multiple 5-star recruits, lead rusher on two very successful teams, and made it to the NFL.

      Some will argue Toussaint but he mostly played in a Rodriguez spread yet had the same career YPC per Smith. He averaged below 4.0 ypc his last 2 years. Of course we all know YPC should be taken with a grain of salt but here is a comp of career numbers wherein the results should get smoothed…

      Toussaint 4.5
      Smith 4.5
      Perry 4.6
      Thomas 4.8
      Hart 5.0

      Blind adherence to YPC would say Smith should be held in similar esteem to Perry. But of course one needs to look at overall production and consider context too.

      Lots of people missed on Green. Lots of people criticized Smith. With the benefit of hindsight we know better. Or should…

      • Comments: 1154
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Mar 08, 2018 at 3:13 PM

        As certain as does Spring follow the Winter is Lanky shaking off the cobwebs from his self imposed exile while rising to the irresistible bait that is the word, Smith.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3768
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 08, 2018 at 3:23 PM

          Just imagine if somebody said Isaac instead!

          But yeah – Smith is more relevant since we can talk about my man Vincent or my man Deveon.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2605
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Mar 08, 2018 at 3:13 PM

        Toussaint didn’t “mostly play in a Rodriguez spread.” He had 510 career carries, and only 8 of them came during Rodriguez’s tenure.

        You left out Brandon Minor, who averaged 5.0 YPC and was superior to Smith. Minor ran for 5.2 YPC in 2008 in a terrible all-around offense.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3768
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 08, 2018 at 3:27 PM

          The offense Borges ran in 2011 was heavily influenced by Rodriguez’s in 2010. To Borges credit, he approached the dramatic transition to his preferred scheme in a incremental/phased approach. That his vision was doomed is beside the point of the conversation about Toussaint.

          Toussaint’s relative ineffectiveness in his junior and senior seasons speaks to the error inherent to a YPC worldview. Did he get worse as a player – I don’t think any reasonable fan would think so, particularly since he has earned a living playing in the NFL.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 2605
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Mar 08, 2018 at 7:12 PM

            First of all, the Al Borges offense in 2011 was, by definition, not a Rich Rodriguez offense. It was under a different coach, and the two never worked together. So the statement that it was a “Fitzgerald Toussaint was in a Rich Rodriguez offense most of his career” is flat-out incorrect. Again, 8/510 carries represents fewer than 2% of his career carries. You pride yourself on statistics, so you’re going to have to take your lumps on this one.

            Second, the 2011 offense was schematically very unlike the scheme of Rodriguez. Borges huddled, Rodriguez didn’t (Michigan ran 941 offensive plays in 2010, and 844 in 2011). Borges was under center more than Rodriguez. Borges didn’t run bubble screens much at all, while Rodriguez used them a ton. Borges largely eschewed the zone read (reading the backside DE, usually with a bubble to the same side) in favor of the power read (reading the playside DE with an OG pulling).

            So it wasn’t a Rich Rodriguez offense, either in name or scheme. There’s no getting around it.

            As for YPC as a statistic, it’s less telling when comparing apples to oranges. The offense in 2008 was different than in 2011, and it was different again in 2017. Comparing YPC stats across years can be problematic when comparing, say, the 2006 offensive line to the 2013 offensive line. It’s not as problematic when comparing Running Back A in 2008 vs. Running Back B in 2008, or Running Back C in 2016 to Running Back D in 2016. Those are apples to apples comparisons.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3768
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 08, 2018 at 10:26 PM

              From the man himself:

              “Borges knew right away he would have to change who he was as an offensive coordinator to suit Denard Robinson’s skill-set, but much of the legwork had already been one.

              “When you have a player that dynamic, you make what you are work,” Borges said. “If it means not running your prototypical West Coast offense, well then it means that and that’s fine.

              “But I wouldn’t trade that kid for anybody.”

              It wasn’t always easy, however, as Michigan went through something of an identity crisis. Was it a pro-style team? Or spread? Spread-option? Or some kind of hybrid?

              “It took us a few games to really realize what we were,” Borges said.

              That partly was because Borges was insistent upon making sure his spread offense was different, if he was going to have to run it.

              Instead, Michigan developed its own unique blend of the spread and West Coast offenses. It evolved from about two-thirds spread to begin the season to more than 80 percent spread by the end.

              Borges maintains he has no interest in running a spread offense in the long term, and already has picked up a commitment from highly touted pocket quarterback Shane Morris for 2013.

              “We’re recruiting to (the pro-style offense) because we’re the most familiar with that, and we feel that’s the best way to win at the University of Michigan,” Borges said. “We don’t have those kinds of players right now, so we’re going to do what we think is the best way to win at the University of Michigan.

              “If it’s more spread, then it’s more spread, and that’s fine by me. This is not an identity. This is not about me. This is about our team and trying to do what’s best to win.””

              80% spread. And who was one of the primary inventors of what was called “the spread offense” then — Rich Rodriguez. Which play calls was Denard going to be most comfortable running? — Rich Rodriguez’s.

              Bonus: Michigan ran more plays in 2011 under Borges than they ran in 2009 under Rodriguez. Irrelevant data.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3768
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 08, 2018 at 10:30 PM

              I don’t think you are right that within year is any less wrong when you have defense and situation to consider.

              If your argument is true then apples to apples Saquan Barkley wasn’t the best back at PSU the last 2 years and Vincent Smith and Carlos Brown were both better backs than Brandon Minor in his senior year.

              • Thunder
                Comments: 2605
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Mar 09, 2018 at 6:34 AM

                Nah. I’m done with this conversation. We’re just talking in circles.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3768
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 08, 2018 at 3:36 PM

          I left out a lot of guys who weren’t primary ball carriers.

          Minor’s career high was 103 carries. In 2007 and 2009 he was 7th on the team in YPC. He finished behind Vincent Smith in YPC in 2009. In 2008, he was 2nd in YPC but split carries with a future bob-sledder on the worst team in Michigan history.

          Brandon Minor wasn’t as good as Deveon Smith as his role and production attest.

          Everyone is entitled to have favorites. One of mine was Vincent Smith. But I don’t think Vincent Smith is the best RB Michigan has had in a decade.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3768
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 08, 2018 at 4:06 PM

            Put another way – the NFL has thusfar looked at Minor and Smith in a similar light – but Smith was significantly more productive and successful in his career at Michigan.

            Smith was the lead rusher and starter in 3 of his 4 seasons. Brandon Minor’s best remembered for giving Michigan fans a few brief moments of satisfaction in otherwise torturous seasons. He was one of the few offensive highlight-makers in those dark days. Some people focus on highlights more than others.

            I do like Minor as a player. He beat out a guy who was supposed to be faster, more talented, and more of a playmaker because he was more reliable and tough as a runner. I see parallels in Minor/Brown, Minor/McGuffie to Hart/Underwood, Smith/Shaw, Smith/Evans, Smith/Isaac, etc.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 2605
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Mar 08, 2018 at 7:23 PM

            DeVeon Smith was #9 in YPC in 2016, #6 in 2015, #6 in 2014, and tied for #4 in 2013. He never finished higher than tied for 4th.

            Considering Minor was #2 one year, it appears – by comparison to other talent on the team – Minor was indeed superior.

            But apparently we’re including slot receivers in the YPC discussion, which is ridiculous, because nobody has ever claimed that Kelvin Grady is superior to any other Michigan player as a running back.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3768
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Mar 08, 2018 at 10:32 PM

              So you’re saying YPC within the year isn’t very meaningful?

              • Thunder
                Comments: 2605
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Mar 09, 2018 at 6:32 AM

                I’m saying this tactic of yours to include wide/slot receivers who only run reverses or end arounds is dumb, just like it would be dumb to say Nick Foles is a great receiver because 100% of his receptions turn into touchdowns. It’s a pointless thread of conversation that deserves to hit a dead end.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3768
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 09, 2018 at 9:55 AM

                It’s less dumb than saying a backup RB should take starters snaps based on YPC because it’s intended to illustrate a point about the limitations of said stat.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2605
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 09, 2018 at 11:32 AM

                  I have grown tired of this stale back-and-forth. I think one thing. You disagree. The end.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 3768
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 08, 2018 at 12:52 PM

    Anyone who doubted Hill’s running ability was wrong.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2605
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 08, 2018 at 3:21 PM

      Yep. He averaged just under 2 yards/carry, so he was a dynamic ball carrier.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3768
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 08, 2018 at 3:50 PM

        I’ll assume this isn’t sarcasm since it can be hard to tell on the internet and it’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt.

        Glad we agree for once, but “dynamic” seems like a stretch since he was mostly just a highly effective short-yardage specialist. Then again, that’s generally the job of a FB, not “dynamic” playmaking. Being highly effective at your job — good thing, IMO.

  3. Comments: 1154
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Mar 08, 2018 at 3:50 PM

    Be it ever so humble …

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 3768
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 09, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    Backup RBs typically have a higher YPC than starters. YPC is highly variable from game to game in season. YPC is highly situational.

    These are facts. It seems you’d rather quibble about naming the 80% “spread” offense Borges ran than address the primary issue. The metric you lean on for RB evaluations is highly limited.

    • Comments: 1154
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Mar 09, 2018 at 1:39 PM

      Sentences employing the words typically and highly as units of measure are not facts, They are opinions. Sometimes other people will not share your opinion on something. Get over it.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2605
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Mar 09, 2018 at 10:06 PM

        I was inspired by you, Roanman, to look up this stat in the Big Ten. Below is the YPC for each team’s starter and his rank (among RBs) on the team:

        Illinois starting RB Mike Epstein: 6.07 YPC before getting hurt, #1 on the team.
        Indiana starting RB Morgan Ellison: 4.92 YPC, #2 on the team.
        Iowa starting RB Akrum Wadley: 4.4 YPC, #2 on the team.
        Maryland starting RB Ty Johnson: 6.39 YPC, #2 on the team.
        Michigan RB Karan Higdon: 6.06 YPC, #2 on the team.
        Michigan State starting RB L.J. Scott: 4.47 YPC, #1 on the team.
        Minnesota starting RB Rodney Smith: 4.27 YPC, #4 on the team.
        Nebraska RB Devine Ozigbo: 3.82 YPC, #4 on the team.
        Northwestern RB Justin Jackson: 4.57 YPC, #5 on the team.
        Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins: 7.23 YPC, #2 on the team.
        Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: 5.86 YPC, #3 on the team
        Purdue RB Markell Jones: 5.01 YPC, #3 on the team.
        Rutgers RB Gus Edwards: 4.35 YPC, #5 on the team.
        Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor: 6.61 YPC, #1 on the team.

        Michigan RB De’Veon Smith (2016): 4.57 YPC, #6 on the team.
        Michigan RB De’Veon Smith (2015): 4.18 YPC, #5 on the team
        Michigan RB De’Veon Smith (2014): 4.81 YPC, #5 on the team

        De’Veon Smith averaged out to be #5.3 on his team in YPC amongst running backs.
        Other starters in the Big Ten averaged out to be #2.7 in YPC amongst their team’s running backs.

        Northwestern and Rutgers were the only two teams to have their starters at #5 in YPC. No other team except De’Veon Smith’s 2016 Michigan squad had a starter who was #6 in YPC on his own team.

        Of course, these stats don’t include all 130 FBS teams, but it’s true (in the Big Ten in 2017) that the starter isn’t always #1 in YPC on his own team. However, it’s atypical for a starting RB to have 4 or 5 players on his own team with a higher YPC than the starter. De’Veon Smith managed to pull off that feat during all 3 years he had the starting gig.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3768
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 10, 2018 at 7:15 PM

        More dodging to debate linguistics. Delete those words – the point holds.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3768
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 10, 2018 at 7:21 PM

        Thank you Thunder for the information that supports my point. The majority of the time the starting RB doesn’t lead the team in YPC. True in the Big 10, college football, NFL, everywhere. So what does it mean?

        Either A) YPC is a good indicator and most coaches make the wrong choice in picking playing time not based on YPC

        Or B) YPC isn’t really a very good indicator of RB performance.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3768
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 10, 2018 at 7:24 PM

          To be sure, this is just a matter of opinion… maybe NFL and college football coaches don’t know as much as random guys on the internet.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2605
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 11, 2018 at 8:16 AM

          I think you’re creating a false dichotomy. It could mean many other things.

          What it DOES mean is exactly what it says. Stats don’t lie. I presented facts. Different conclusions can be reached.

          You may notice that I have never called out Mike Hart, even though Brandon Minor and Jerome Jackson had a higher YPC than him in 2006. I have never, ever, ever, ever said that YPC is the be-all, end-all factor for running backs.

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