Name: Daxton Hill
Weight: 192 lbs.
High school: Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington
Jersey number: #30
Last year: I ranked Hill #42 and said he would be the starting nickel corner (LINK). He started three games and made 36 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries, and 4 pass breakups.
TTB Rating: 100
Hill was the best safety in the 2019 class, and expectations were sky-high for him as a freshman. Safety is a tough spot to play for any first-year player, so Michigan worked him in slowly. They had that luxury because the team had senior Josh Metellus and junior Brad Hawkins at safety, plus senior Lavert Hill and junior Ambry Thomas at cornerback.
Hill showed flashes of stardom as a freshman. In week two he caught a 25-yard pass from Michael Barrett on a fake punt against Army. He made a diving interception at Indiana. He made 8 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the bowl game against Alabama. (Also noteworthy: he got burned for a touchdown on the first play by Jerry Jeudy.)
Now Jim Harbaugh is saying things like “Hill is the most talented athlete on the team.” Don Brown is saying that safety Hill “is the best cover guy on the team.” Word on the street is that the coaching staff has asked Hill to play corner, but he has balked at the idea since he plans to play safety in the NFL.
There was a time that Michigan talked to Hill about playing him both ways in college. I wonder if 2020 may be a year when Hill gets some opportunities on offense. Ambry Thomas got a look on offense as a sophomore in 2018, and Michigan lost three receivers from last season (Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, and Nico Collins). Though there is still talent at receiver, I wonder if Hill might get a chance to make some plays.
Even if Hill sticks to defense only, we should see a big year from him. Though production might be down overall since the Big Ten is only slated to play nine games, I think Hill will have the best season of any Michigan safety since Harbaugh was hired in 2015. He’s fast and tackles well, and a year of experience under his belt should help with fleshing out opposing offenses. I’m excited about what he will bring to the table in 2020.
Prediction: Starting free safety
Hit the jump for some of Hill’s 2019 highlights.
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