2019 Season Countdown: #42 Daxton Hill

2019 Season Countdown: #42 Daxton Hill


July 22, 2019
Daxton Hill (image via Twitter)

Name: Daxton Hill
Height:
6’0″
Weight:
190 lbs.
High school:
Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington
Position:
Safety
Class:
Freshman
Jersey number:
#30
Last year:
Hill was a senior in high school (LINK). He made 93 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 9 pass breakups, along with 13 catches for 360 yards and 7 touchdowns.
TTB Rating:
100

I gave Hill a TTB Rating of 100, which means I think he’s the best safety prospect in the country from the class of 2019. And in all honesty, I don’t think it’s really all that close. I’m not impressed with the other top safeties in the class, and I think it’s a down year at the position overall.

Will he play like the best safety in the country at Michigan? There’s reason to have doubts. Michigan’s safeties are not always big-time playmakers and can sometimes be rather forgettable. Josh Metellus was not a standout initially, and Tyree Kinnel was a 4-star who was somewhat forgettable. Delano Hill made some big plays but not consistently.

Furthermore, safety is a tough position to play as a freshman, because so much depends on getting aligned correctly, recognizing formations, communication, and recognizing route combinations. And on top of that, Hill didn’t enroll until the summer, so he missed spring ball that some freshmen used to get acclimated to college ball and Don Brown’s system.

Much was expected of Dymonte Thomas coming out of high school, and Thomas had a rough freshman year. He’s probably the closest approximation to Hill that Michigan has had in the past twenty years, a lanky guy with speed to burn. (Although in fairness, Thomas was basically playing middle linebacker in high school so he could run sideline to sideline and stop the run.) Like Thomas, Hill is expected to start out repping at nickel corner, a spot that doesn’t have a clear front-runner going into the season.

So what should we expect to see from Hill in 2019? Flashes of excellence and some struggles. By mid-season, I expect him to be the starting nickel corner, barring injury at the safety position. The Wolverines have significant depth at safety (Metellus, J’Marick Woods, Brad Hawkins, etc.), but any injuries could cause a reshuffling in the secondary. There have even been rumors that Hill could end up playing cornerback if injuries/illness affect that position a great deal (like the issue Ambry Thomas is dealing with now). Expecting greatness from Hill immediately is probably wishful thinking, but his 2020 and 2021 seasons look very bright as one of the most explosive overall athletes in the entire nation.

Prediction: Starting nickel corner

7 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1363
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jul 23, 2019 at 1:24 AM

    I have high hopes for Hill, just not in 2019!

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 63
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    umfarnn
    Jul 23, 2019 at 9:23 AM

    Hopefully Hill learns quickly and the rest of the secondary stays healthy. Would be nice to have mostly experienced players allowing Brown to use more complex coverage. If Hill is a starting CB I’d be worried about being able to switch to zone.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4968
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 23, 2019 at 11:14 AM

      Is zone a big ask for CB? Probably tougher than man to man but I feel like the bigger ask/responsibility generally lies with safeties who get stressed with multiple threats passing through the middle zones.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 63
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        umfarnn
        Jul 23, 2019 at 11:33 AM

        Not an expert on this but my understanding is man coverage is more about speed/athleticism and technique while zone requires communication and understanding the defensive scheme which take more time to learn.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 4968
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jul 24, 2019 at 1:12 PM

          My understanding also, I just wonder if it’s easier for a freshman CB to handle zone than a freshman Safety.

          It sounds like our other options after Thomas are all either freshman or sophomores who haven’t seen the field, so I’m not sure there’s much of a dropoff with Hill, even for zone.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 4968
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 23, 2019 at 11:11 AM

    Jabrill Peppers, starting CB, 2014. That’s the example that came to my mind, even though his season was derailed by injury.

    I wrote a bit more about it but it got hung up in messageboard purgatory maybe due to punctuation…

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4968
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 24, 2019 at 1:24 PM

      At this point I would bet on Hill coming out as either a starter or top backup against MTSU. I don’t think it’ll be at safety, but either starting CB, 3rd (rotating) CB or nickel package CB (outside or in).

      Are Vincent Gray and Gemon Green, going to hold off a consensus 5-star DB who is already on campus? I would guess not. Countess and Taylor (seniors) held off Peppers to start the year, but even the sophomore versions of Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling did not. Peppers started his first game as a true freshman. He played outside and nickel CB, even though we all agree he fits better at safety.

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