Gators land top recruit
Hill to announce his college choice in Times Square
Posted: Wednesday September 19, 2007 6:40PM; Updated: Thursday September 20, 2007 7:07PM
St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City) all-around star Will Hill took his official visit to Gainesville, Fla., last Saturday and watched from the stands as the Gators thrashed Tennessee 59-20.
On Thursday at 6 p.m. in Times Square's ESPNZone, he is expected to announce his intent to suit up for the Gators next season, much to the chagrin of the USC Trojans, who he was previously scheduled to visit this weekend.
"I went to the Rutgers-Louisville game last year, but I had never seen anything like this," said Hill of the weekend visit, when reached by phone on Tuesday. "The atmosphere at Florida, from the fans and alumni, showed how serious they take football and how much they love the game. I knew my dad would be hyped, but even my mom was jumping around doing the Gator chomp!"
Hill, who stands 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, runs a 4.3 40, bench presses 290 pounds, broad jumps 11-foot-5 and has a 38-inch vertical, led St. Peter's to the New Jersey Non-Public Group IV title game the last two years.
Able to slalom through defenders and stop on a dime in reversing fields, he has put his athleticism on display as a quarterback, strong safety and return man since playing varsity as a freshman. Last winter, he won the MSG network's Tri-State Heisman Award.
If he follows through on his plans to attend Florida, don't expect him to replace Tim Tebow as quarterback, though. Hill, who plays quarterback and strong safety for Prep, famously declared his intention to play strong safety in college last summer, saying, "Quarterbacks wear skirts, I like to hit people."
In picking Florida, Hill would ostensibly fulfill all of his ideas of his dream school. Throughout the process, he has said he wanted to go somewhere warm. Check. He said he wanted to leave New Jersey behind. Check. And he said he desired a family atmosphere. Check. No player is allowed to commit to the Gators before first meeting Gators coach Urban Meyer's wife, Shelley. "She was nice, and she's real football oriented, too," said Hill.
Joining Hill on last weekend's visit were eight other top recruits. Hill said the person he got to know best was Boone (Orlando, Fla.) cornerback Jeremy Brown, who committed to Florida before leaving campus last weekend. "I talked with Jeremy the most, and we talked about playing alongside each other," said Hill.
The news of Hill's choice comes as St. Peter's enjoys a bye this week. Last Friday, Hill ran for one touchdown and threw for another as he played just the first half of the Marauders' 61-0 win over Memorial (West New York, N.J.). In the Marauders' opener against Delbarton (Morristown, N.J.), Hill was sidelined most of the game due to cramps and possible dehydration from not playing all that much in the preseason.
While down in Gainesville, where it was 102 degrees for the Tennessee game, Hill's father said the family could get used to the heat.
Florida is no doubt hoping that's true.