For a change of pace, I'd thought everyone would like to hear a recruit speak for once about the process. You're listening to Nick Hill, the newest member of the 2010 Spartan Football recruiting class. He ran for 2,090 yards and 24 touchdowns last season for Chelsea (MI) HS, and you can find out more after the jump.
Let's start off with the usual:
Rivals: 5.6 Rating (high 3*), #10 all-purpose back in the Nation, #12 overall in Michigan by SpartanMag
Scout: 3 stars, #30 RB in the nation
ESPN: Grade of 75
If you're curious as to what "all-purpose back" in Rivals means, I believe it's a category for smaller RBs, about 5'8" and under, while running backs are a bit bigger, and fullbacks are the biggest. All of the ratings seem to point to a solid recruit at the Big Ten level.
Height and Weight: 5'6.5", 179 pounds
40 Time: 4.4 seconds
Bench Max: 330 pounds
Squat Max: 580 pounds
Vertical Jump: 35 inches
Yeah, that's a strong kid right there. It helps that he has a short frame with the bench and squat, but that's nonetheless impressive. His 100 times from track are around the 11.2-11.4 range which might not best correlate with a 4.4 forty. Many of those times were from 2008 though, it's completely plausible that he could be faster now.
The MAC schools had observed Nick throughout his junior season, but it wasn't until this past February that he started to truly get some publicity. Matt Dorsey (Rivals' Michigan State writer) and Josh Helmholdt (Rivals' Michigan writer) ranked him as the number six recruit in the state, saying this in the Detroit Free Press:
Hill uses his 5-6, 180-pound frame to hide behind offensive linemen, waiting for a hole to develop, much the same way (Mike) Hart did. One difference, though, is Hill has legitimate 4.4 (in the 40-yard dash) speed and the ability to take any carry the distance.
The Mike Hart comparison might make you go apoplectic, but there are worse RBs from which to draw comparisons. From his measurables, one can easily tell that he'll have the same kind of strength that Hart did, and he may be a touch faster to boot. After receiving offers from MAC schools and Stanford, he got the offer from MSU last week, and after thinking on it for a while:
On Tuesday, "it just hit me and I said 'Nick, this is the right decision,'" Hill said..."I wanted to go there because it's a top-notch education and this is a program on the rise," Hill said. "The coaching staff, they're all in it for the right reasons. They're doing the right things. It's a family feeling."
Warm, soft, fuzzy feelings all around. It's nice for fans to say these platitudes about MSU, but it's much better to hear them from a recruit, because of the rivalries and biases you might have, and before you know it, you're burning a block "S" into your neighbor's lawn because he has a "M" license plate. Not that, y'know, I've done that sort of thing. Or gotten caught. Like you can prove anything.
ANYWAY, Hill's position on the team in 2010 is heavily dependent on what happens in 2009. If the logjam isn't cleared, than he becomes one more player in what will still be anyone's spot to claim. If two or three RBs distinguish themselves as a cut above the others, his spot on the depth chart will become dependent on how he makes the most of his small stature. If he can effectively hide behind his blockers to get big gains, a back-up spot might be in the cards. If he has trouble picking up the nuances of college ball, he'lll most likely take a redshirt year with little detriment to the team.
I don't believe MSU will take another running back this class. Jimmerson's the only running back who graduates, meaning the running back position will stay at steady-state. As a result, the commitment will most likely send Austin White, the other top RB recruit in Michigan in 2010, to the Wolverines. Hill's been a highly productive runner for Chelsea for three years, and State fans should be nothing but happy to add him to the 2010 class.