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Hill makes the climb

Posted May 10, 2014

For most of the 256 players selected in this year’s draft, getting that call from an NFL team is the realization of a dream.

 LSU running back Jeremy Hill at Saturday's news conference.

 For most of the 256 players selected in this year’s draft, getting that call from an NFL team is the realization of a dream.

In Jeremy Hill’s case, it started at an early age.

“It’s been my dream since the first time I touched a football,” Hill told me.  “I scored a 60-yard touchdown playing the running back position and I’ve hit the ground running ever since.”

“Since third grade when he first hit the field it was just natural talent,” said his mother Lisa.  “Nobody taught him – his dad, myself – he just had it.

“His skill level was just so superior – not to be boastful – but you could see that he was way above the other kids.  When he first hit the field, we were like, ‘Whoa, where did this kid come from?  Where did he learn that?’  It was just natural ability.”

That talented kid has grown into a 6-1, 233 pound wrecking ball who rushed for 1,401 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns last year at LSU.  The Bengals drafted him in Friday’s second round as the perfect complement to the smaller and shiftier Giovani Bernard. On Saturday he was introduced to the media.

“I think that’s what the coaches had in sight in drafting us in back-to-back years,” said Hill.  “Hopefully they’ll have us for the next few years doing some damage.  I’m looking forward to putting in the work and having some success this fall.”

LSU’s style of play was a key consideration for the Bengals in making Hill the 55th overall pick.  The Tigers have not followed the trend in college football in adopting a pass-happy spread offense, preferring a run-oriented attack out of pro sets.

“LSU is a stepping stone for the NFL, so everything that we do as far as our program, our weightlifting, our offense is pro-style,” said Hill.  “They’re just preparing us.  If you see the amount of guys that are drafted out of LSU year in and year out, it’s up there with the most of any school in the country.”

Hill did face character concerns leading up to the draft due to two off-field incidents at LSU.  The Bengals were assured that it is not an issue after discussing the 21-year-old with several contacts on the LSU staff.   

“They did their research and homework and found out what kind of man that I am,” said Hill.  “People that spend every day with me – the trainers, the equipment managers, my coaches, my teammates – they speak highly of me.”

His mother says that questions about Jeremy’s character do not bother her. 

“I know all the facts and I know the truth,” said Lisa Hill.  “Because of that, it does not raise any questions in my heart.  I know who I raised and I know who he is.”

Her son will soon be what he’s dreamed of becoming – an NFL running back.

“It’s always been a dream and something that I’ve worked for and for it to come true is still surreal,” said Hill.  “Yesterday I was sitting home unemployed and now I’m here with you guys.”

 

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