“Words can’t even explain it,” Hill said. “I am on a full scholarship this semester. I am so blessed for this opportunity. I have waited my whole life to play college football, and I am going to take advantage of it and ball out.”
Hill was expected to join the Tigers on National Signing Day last February, but his recruitment process took an unexpected turn on Jan. 12, 2011.
Then an 18-year old senior at Redemptorist, Hill was arrested on charges of oral sexual battery of a 14-year-old girl, a fellow student. Hill was expelled and finished high school through home-school studies.
With his future on the football field on hold, Hill didn’t sign with a program and drifted out of sight and out of mind in the recruiting world.
“I stayed to myself,” Hill said. “I wanted to remain even-keeled with everything. I just wanted to be patient and learn from it and move on.”
The patience paid off on Jan. 6, when Hill pleaded guilty to carnal knowledge of a juvenile, which is a misdemeanor. The reduction in charges from the judge came with two years of probation.
That meant Hill, who had been out of football for more than a year, was going to be able to enroll in college for the spring semester and sign on with a program on Feb. 1.
For the Baton Rouge native, staying home at LSU was the only option he considered after his arrest.
“There were a lot of teams calling and asking what was up with my situation, but I never once opened up the recruitment process,” Hill said. “I stuck with LSU. And just to clear things up, I never committed to Auburn before everything happened with my legal situation. Those rumors weren’t true.
“After that, I just tried to get the legal process and my academics settled. I wasn’t worried about the recruiting process. I was worried about other things.”
Now enrolled in classes in Baton Rouge, Hill had a message to one member of the LSU staff and every fan that stood by his side throughout his recruitment process.
“I really want to thank coach Frank (Wilson) for everything he’s done,” Hill said. “He always stuck by my side and always stayed in touch with me and always recruited me. He never left. I thank him for sticking by my side and getting me into school.
“I also appreciated the fans who stuck by my side. I’m sure those people will be rooting me on during Saturday nights in Death Valley.”
Off the field and away from the routine of the football grind with a program, Hill has been forced to stay in shape on his own.
Weighing in at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, the four-star running back prospect said he’s in arguably the best shape of his life.
“When you have a lot of time to yourself, you have time to try out different things to see what works for you,” Hill said. “I have been working out with different people. I have been going to Gayle Hatch and then doing things like running the levee.
“I am staying in shape and waiting for the opportunity to present itself.”
“It’s a heavy-hitting backfield,” Hill said. “It’s going to be great running with those guys. They have all proven themselves, and I am just ready to prove myself. I am ready for the opportunity.”
Back in a classroom for the first time in more than a year, Hill stressed that the day was about much more than football.
“When I committed to Les Miles and LSU as a junior, I committed for so many other reasons than why I am committing now,” he said. “I have matured so much from back then, and I thank God for everything that’s happened. It’s crazy how things change over time.
“The situation has taught me a lot of life lessons. I can go forward and maybe help some other people one day. I am just very grateful.”