Stephen Hill showed a remarkable skill with some impressive namedropping during his first news conference as a Jet at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
“Yeah, definitely Calvin Johnson,” Hill, the Georgia Tech wideout, told reporters at midday today when asked if he agreed with VP of college scouting Joey Clinkscales’ likening of Hill to “Megatron.” the Madden NFL ’13 cover dude. “And if I can say a little old school, I’d say Jerry Rice.”
If you look at one set of Hill’s Yellow Jackets numbers, his receptions, you’d say, well, good luck with that. In Tech’s triple-option offense he totaled only 49 career receptions, an average of 16.3 per season, 1.3 per game.
But look at another set and you might say, why not? Hill had nine touchdown receptions in his college career, each of which went for an average of 55.2 yards per catch. As a junior last year, he had five TDs for a 64.0 average per catch. His 29 total catches averaged 29.3 yards per catch, leading all of college football.
That Georgia Tech offense was feast and famine for a wideout of Hill’s skills, but as he said about shifting gears from the triple option to whichever pro offense he was ticketed for, “I’ve been away from school for four months. I did a lot of transitioning, especially going down to the IMG campus, working hard six days a week. My only transition is just playing faster and playing against great guys.”
And to help him with that transition, well, Hill dropped a few more names, this time of some quarterbacks.
“I worked out with Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins,” Hill said. “And Vinny Testaverde kind of threw it to me, too.”
Yes, that Vinny T, the Jets’ own former QB who helps out some young up-and-comers at the Bradenton, Fla., complex.
“Oh, yeah, definitely Vinny can still spin that thing,” Hill told Eric Allen for newyorkjets.com. “It’s amazing to see a guy who played so many years and still moves so great. He gave me a lot of tips, on how to get in and out of breaks. And he told me to just stay in my place, go out there and be a pro.”
Hill, who just celebrated his 21st birthday the day before the draft began, has a great head start on that goal. Every player is more than the sum of his numbers, but in Hill’s case some additional numbers pop out and tell a little something more about how the 6’4″, 215-pounder from Lithonia, Ga., may adapt to North Jersey and a New York state of mind:
4.36 — That was Hill’s announced 40 time at the February combine, although he was told one watch had him at 4.28. “I’ve had that speed since I was a kid. I just keep working, working, no days off. I’m in a no-days-off period. I knew I was fast when I started running track at the age of 6,” he told reporters. To EA he agreed, “It’s good to have this type of speed. It’s a blessing to have this type of speed.”
11’1″ — That’s Hill’s broad jump distance. Sound like a long way to leap? That’s tied for the seventh-longest broad jump at the combine at all positions since 2006. I won the states in my junior year and in my senior year I came in third behind Eric Berry and Brandon Boykin. Jumping against those guys was such a boost to my confidence.” As a senior Hill set the Georgia state long jump record at 25’8¾”.
39’5″ — His announced vertical leap at the combine. That’s just a merely impressive stat, tied for fifth-highest among all positions at this year’s workouts. But wait, there’s a catch. “I really thought I had a better jump, but they had me redo it.” He said his best vertical came in high school, a 42’0″ leap. That would have been in the top 10 for verticals in the last seven combines.
84 — That’s the uniform number Hill is expected to wear as a Jet. Why 84 after he wore 5 at Georgia Tech and 25 at Miller Grove High School? “I wore 84 in high school for an All-America bowl game after my senior season. My dad, Henry Hill, wore it when he was in high school, and I had a big game wearing it. Now I’m getting to wear it again.”
Hill’s dad, mom and family came up from Georgia with him for his introduction to the area today. And he’ll be back for next weekend’s rookie minicamp here at the Jets facility, where we’ll get to see No. 84 start working on some new numbers and achievements at the next level.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech, Henry Hill, Jerry Rice, Stephen Hill, Vinny Testaverde
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