Stephen Hill on draft combine performance

Greetings-

Stephen Hill’s name is on the lips of draftniks after a blistering performance at the NFL draft combine Sunday. I spoke with the former Georgia Tech receiver Monday and have notes from the interview.

1. I’d say he was proud and excited for his strong showing in Indianapolis, but not at all surprised. He had said last week he wanted to run a 4.3 in the 40, and I suppose you don’t go around saying that if you don’t know you can already do it, which was the case.

“I actually ran a 4.3 two weeks ago,” Hill said.

Hill just needed to bring it out of himself again. (Interesting nfl.com story about Hill’s training.)

“Of course, I’m not a guy that’s going to brag and be about it, but I was just confident in what I was going to do,” he said.

2. The combine is often described as a strange, grueling process – a battery of job interviews with some of the biggest names in the NFL, hours’ worth of physical exams and then the strength and speed testing. Hill sound like he handled himself fine, just doing what he was asked.

“Other than that, it was about being mentally tough,” he said. “I have matured very much coming from Tech. They have taught me well to handle certain things.”

3. He said he was interviewed by 30 of the 32 teams, the exceptions being the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles. (I don’t know exactly what, if anything, to read into that. A lot of stuff like that around draft time is a poker game. It could be that Chan Gailey feels like he can find out whatever he needs to know about Hill through his contacts at Tech, or that the Eagles don’t like to tip off their hand to players they really want. Or neither has interest, or had other players they wanted to talk to. Hard to tell.)

He got a lot of questions about how he’ll make the adjustment from the spread option to a pro-style offense. His response was that receivers in the offense read coverages and make adjustments like in any other offense.

4. The reaction from Hill’s performance was considerable. He was officially timed at 4.36, tied for the fastest among all participants, and his broad jump of 11′1″ was also the best. His 39.5-inch vertical was fifth. Further, he performed well in the pass-catching drills and, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, made the catch of the combine, “a diving catch in which he laid out and caught the ball at the end of his fingertips.” King went so far as to call him “The Man” from the workouts.

Sports Illustrated’s Tony Pauline put him at the top of the list of risers, saying that his performance lifted Hill into the “early part of Round 2.” I went back and did a little bit of homework on Pauline’s projections. He wasn’t 100 percent accurate, but he was in the ballpark more often than not. I am among those who wonder why so much value is placed on a 40 time – if that’s indeed the case – but more power to Hill if it helps him.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Hill “killed it” in Indianapolis, which will force teams to do more research on him.

5. Hill’s next step is Tech’s pro day March 6. Hill will undoubtedly attract plenty of scouts, which will help get looks for guys like Roddy Jones, Steven Sylvester and Jason Peters, who were not invited to the combine and, if I had to guess, will likely be undrafted free agent types. Hill said that until then, he’ll be working out with former Falcons great Terance Mathis, working on his pass catching and route running. He acknowledged that he has dropped easy passes, and he has been devoting himself to looking passes in, catching the ball with his hands away from his body and developing the strength to bring the ball into his body.

He said he wasn’t sure who he’ll have throwing to him. I’m not sure what the rules are, but I remember that Calvin Johnson ran routes for Taylor Bennett at Tech’s 2009 pro day (Bennett had already transferred to Louisiana Tech, but I would surmise he was permitted to participate at Tech’s pro day since he had been at school there.)

“I feel like I turned some heads, but I’m just trying to keep it humble and get ready for the pro day,” he said.

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

104 comments Add your comment

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
7:21 am

“Other than that, it was about being mentally tough,” he said. “I have matured very much coming from Tech. They have taught me well to handle certain things.”
———————————————————-
Great quote! Looks like Hill is not down on Tech like some posters insinuate.

Thanks, Ken, for your updates. I am glad you are covering Tech and appreciate your work.

Tokyo jacket

February 29th, 2012
7:28 am

This should really help recruiting. Thanks to Mr. Hill for his time at Tech.

Bruce

February 29th, 2012
7:30 am

I have followed Stephen Hill since his youth as a track and field champion. He has been a national champion several times. I videotaped his last 300 meter GA State Championship which several around me doubted he could win since he fell during the preliminaries. Well, he dominated the finals. I never doubted Hill nor will I doubt him. He will do well in the NFL, sorry local media counting on his demise.

Road Scholar

February 29th, 2012
7:36 am

I’ll be impressed when he gets his degree!

Payton34

February 29th, 2012
7:40 am

No one questionshis speed, it his ability to catch the ball. He would have had an even higher yards per catch average if he didn’t drop so many passes when he was behind the defense.

BirminghamJacket

February 29th, 2012
7:56 am

Kid messed up.

Wouldn’t even start for Boise, Bama Oregon or LSU…. And thinks he’s going to earn a check on Sundays.

Mic check… That degree you just passed up at GT would have earned you 6 figures a year.

Good luck in what I hope not but suspect will be a blue collar job.

FL Jacket

February 29th, 2012
8:00 am

Hats off to Stephen…he took a risk and came out better than anyone could have expected. Not that people who recruit against Tech won’t try, but the arguments against the Triple Option are getting weaker and more desperate by the day…

randy

February 29th, 2012
8:02 am

So why so many drops on the field? Anyway, good luck stephen.

GT

February 29th, 2012
8:04 am

Thomas had a big year last year in Denver and Johnson is the monster of the midway. Now we have Hill, who never looked that fast in the Tech games but made some great one handed catches. After Lin in the NBA you wonder how many more hidden players are out there.

Old Gold Britches

February 29th, 2012
8:20 am

Thanks Ken for the update. It is good to hear he has been working very hard to accomplish his strong desire to play on Sundays. Everyone talks about so many dropped passes, but I don’t think there were that many. They just all stand out. I was not happy with them either, but everyone can grow in maturity and improve which I feel Stephen has done. All the best to Stephen trying to make his dream come true.

lucky21

February 29th, 2012
8:28 am

Have Vad throw to him!

crackbaby

February 29th, 2012
8:32 am

@Birmingham Jacket

Have to disagree strongly with you about playing on Sundays for Stephen Hill. Kid has so much talent and there are so many NFL teams that need good receivers. Even if Hill goes undrafted, he will get the opportunity to make a team. You could say the same thing about (not starting for blah blah blah) Bey Bey Thomas, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, etc. and they all start in the league.

If a degree is important to him, he can get that later. His dream is to play in the NFL. Carpe diem!

People don’t seem to have the ability to recognize special talent when they see it. Hill has it. Just needs to get into the right system.

crackbaby

February 29th, 2012
8:33 am

@OldGoldBritches – You are right about the over emphasis on drops. Many were bad but nobody talks about his great catches either.

Techraider

February 29th, 2012
8:38 am

@BirminghamJacket you are a f’n idiot….Stephen Hill would have been a better receiver at Boise, Bama Oregon or LSU. Because why? The game is predicated on passing DUH! apparently you are not an athlete nor the less someone that knows the game. If he would have attended one of those schools, then maybe we talking early 1st round. Just look at the improvement in less than a month with quality receiving coaching….Some things you say are the absolute worst…..Hey Dumbaz…if you haven’t checked lately……There are several TECH grads that are unemployed, the economy sucks for everyone “EXCEPT ATHLETES” Wow! THIS GUY!

Cats hav fleas 2

February 29th, 2012
8:46 am

He made a good choice coming out and entering the draft. If he’d stayed and received his degree from the Trade School he would be an unemployed graduate with nothing to show for it except an expensive piece of paper.

GTME

February 29th, 2012
9:03 am

“he has been devoting himself to looking passes in, catching the ball with his hands away from his body and developing the strength to bring the ball into his body.”

…wish he would have done that while he still played for Tech. Nonetheless, good luck to him.

gt45

February 29th, 2012
9:10 am

This is turning into a great story. I have to admit-I was a doubter. I wanted Bey-Bey to stay for selfish reasons. I wanted Stephen to stay to get better. I am glad it is turning out for him.

1 4 GT

February 29th, 2012
9:22 am

Some folks can’t or don’t read the articles and interviews heading the blog page. Or they are incapable of comprehending what they read. This young man, Stephen Hill, was a track & field guy and only really seriously played football in his senior year in high school and was a championship track guy if I have read this and the previous blog on him correctly.
He has grown into a receiver in football. His lack of experience and short time of actively pursuing playing time in football manifested itself in poor techniques catching the ball. His athletic ability and his enthusiasm and youthful exuberance were always obvious. Not to make comparisons, but if you remember Bob Hayes with the Cowboys in the ’60’s, he was a pure track star in college whom the Cowboys coaches turned into a damn good receiver, The NFL game was changed by this one man. When he first started playing football as a pro, he would fly straight down the field with the biggest “skillet” hands ever, but he learned and grew into his job on the field. Mr. Hill is doing so now. I believe S. Hill will have a good solid career in the NFL as long as he stays true to his above words. Good luck to him and thanks for the good plays he made on the Flats.

GoldJacket

February 29th, 2012
9:23 am

Good luck, Stephen! Keep up the hard work.You definitely have the ability to be playing on Sundays for a long time

WnE

February 29th, 2012
9:24 am

Hill said that until then, he’ll be working out with former Falcons great Terance Mathis, working on his pass catching and route running. He acknowledged that he has dropped easy passes, and he has been devoting himself to looking passes in, catching the ball with his hands away from his body and developing the strength to bring the ball into his body.
___________________

Since Hill spent 3 years playing for an Offensive Genius, WHY does he need to turn to Terrance Mathis to LEARN ROUTE RUNNING?

According to the CPJ-boot-licking-toadies the GT Offense prepares him properly for the NFL, so why turn to Mathis a guy coaching at Savannah St., can’t his WR coach at GT help him?

I don’t remember A.J. Green & Julio Jones having to learn route running like Mr. Hill does.

It sounds to me like PLAYING FOR CPJ has caused Hill to SACRIFICE on his WR-Fundamentals, and now he has to play catch-up in order for his DRAFT SLOT to match HIS ATHLETICISM.

Had Hill played for Lane Kiffin or CMR his DRAFT SLOT would definitely match his ATHLETICISM, and he would not be looking at losing anywhere from $5 to $10 Million in signing bonus money.

People are focusing on HOW MUCH MONEY that Hill made by doing well at the combine, but they are forgetting that with his ELITE ATHLETICISM he never should have gone into the combine with such a LOW DRAFT GRADE (4th-5th Round) to start with, that low draft grade falls entirely at the feet of Coach Kung Fu Panda’s gimmicky, crappy Triple-SLOPtion Offense.

With Hill’s ELITE ATHLETICISM he should have gone into the Combine with a 1st round Draft Grade like A.J. Green & Julio Jones that were TAUGHT how to properly play WR, rather than only being taught diving at kneecaps, jump-balls pass routes, and smoke-routes.

Stephen Hill has RANDY MOSS-type Athleticism yet Coach Fish Fry COACHED HIM DOWN such that he went into the combine with a 4th to 5th round draft grade and he had to work himself into a 2nd round draft grade with his god-given talent.

Had Hill gone to another school and played for a SMARTER HC, then he would have gone into the draft with a 2nd or 1st round grade like his ATHLETICISM Merits, under CPJ he’s goes in with a 4th-5th round draft grade and has to work himself into a 2nd round grade.

Had he chosen a better HC back in Feb. 2009, then he would have gone into the Combine with a 2nd round draft grade and EASILY worked himself into being a GUARANTEED 1st rounder.

CPJ, the Genius HC that LOSES $5-$10 million in signing bonus MONEY for the players he Recruits to GT!

When your DRAFT SLOT doesn’t match your athleticism then that MEANS the player WAS POORLY COACHED, and that falls at the feet of CPJ.

Those glowing remarks by Hill about GT are the politically correct remarks that his agent has taught him to give rather than Hill being honest about CPJ’s gimmicky Offense costing him so much in signing bonus money.

Get mad all you want boot-licking-toadies, but the TRUTH hurts.

SansWorld

February 29th, 2012
9:30 am

I would say Hill is proving his critics wrong. It is great that he is doing so well in the combines. Frankly, if he had stayed for another year, he may have had a knock out year, but he really would not have been developing his skills to be a better over al player for the future. If he is a 2nd round pickin the NFL, that extra year in the NFL will make him a better overall player than if he had stayed around at GT.

SansWorld

February 29th, 2012
9:32 am

I agree wtih WnE that GT is not the best place to develop your skills as a receiver. Then again, not sure that anyone ever said it was.

PMC

February 29th, 2012
9:34 am

Man I’m hoping Roddy Jones gets a look somewhere. I think he’s a very good football player.

NOVAJacket

February 29th, 2012
9:34 am

“His response was that receivers in the offense read coverages and make adjustments like in any other offense” – ’nuff said!

“He acknowledged that he has dropped easy passes, and he has been devoting himself to looking passes in, catching the ball with his hands away from his body and developing the strength to bring the ball into his body.” – good self appraisal.

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
9:35 am

Those glowing remarks by Hill about GT are the politically correct remarks that his agent has taught him to give rather than Hill being honest about CPJ’s gimmicky Offense costing him so much in signing bonus money.

Get mad all you want boot-licking-toadies, but the TRUTH hurts.
———————————————–
Why would Stephen Hill lie? What benefit is it to him?

1 4 GT

February 29th, 2012
9:35 am

It’s truly amazing what good coaching will do for some once they believe in themselves. It’s too bad these specialized coaches aren’t the norm in college coaching. If what we read about Tim Tebow currently getting advanced coaching and John Elway planning on working with him this off season, we will see an improved QB next season. An athlete’s body develops muscle memory from repetitive motions at a young age. To stay at the top of their game as they age, they are constantly retraining their bodies. Look at the number of times Tiger Woods has revamped his golf swing to accommodate his aging body. That is what Stephen is doing. He was catching balls against his body letting a lot of them bounce off before he could control them. Now he’s learning to extend his arms and catch/control the ball with his hands as he cradles it against his body.

slydog

February 29th, 2012
9:37 am

Stephen Hill looked absolutely fantastic at the NFL Combine. Bey Bey Thomas will definitely help him get drafted nowhere below the 5th round (I know that sounds but trust me, there is always a team that makes certain picks in earlier rounds because they didn’t get the guy they wanted, so they compensate in a lower round). I have to ask this question: What the hell was CPJ doing not exploiting this kid’s talent? We can talk about the dropped balls all day, but when you pass so little, it’s more glaring. Roddy White led the league in drops but still caught 100 balls. No one will accuse the Falcons of being a pass happy offense. How much passing do you think went on in practice?

George Stein

February 29th, 2012
9:42 am

I thought Johnson couldn’t recruit elite athletes, WnE. I’m so confused now.

WnE

February 29th, 2012
9:43 am

re:
It’s truly amazing what good coaching will do for some once they believe in themselves. It’s too bad these specialized coaches aren’t the norm in college coaching. If what we read about Tim Tebow currently getting advanced coaching and John Elway planning on working with him this off season, we will see an improved QB next season. An athlete’s body develops muscle memory from repetitive motions at a young age. To stay at the top of their game as they age, they are constantly retraining their bodies. Look at the number of times Tiger Woods has revamped his golf swing to accommodate his aging body. That is what Stephen is doing. He was catching balls against his body letting a lot of them bounce off before he could control them. Now he’s learning to extend his arms and catch/control the ball with his hands as he cradles it against his body.
_______________________

Very fair commentary.

Simple question:

Why doesn’t GT have a better WR Coach?

Part of a HC’s JOB is to put together a Staff that is worthy of being at a BCS-level School, for $150K to $200K+ per year shouldn’t GT/CPJ be able to find a WR coach that can teach an Elite Athlete that is “smart enough” to attend GT how to catch the ball with his hands away from his body in THREE YEARS?

Now that he’s headed to the NFL he shouldn’t be learning to catch the ball away from his body, he should have been learning that from his first practice at GT.

Combine these types of stories with GT’s poor STs play and all indicators show that GT is a POORLY COACHED TEAM under CPJ.

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
9:44 am

George…is a 4.3 40 SEC speed or is SEC speed faster than that?

1 4 GT

February 29th, 2012
9:44 am

Why does anyone respond to WEENIEHEAD aka WnE. He has an agenda. All he does is criticize and make up stuff to fit his agenda. Such as posting comments about people as though they had personally confided state secrets to his trolling butt sniffing leg humping phony self. Please just ignore this jerk. One day, he will realize how pathetically futile his rants are. Maybe. Just GO AWAY fool!!!

1 4 GT

February 29th, 2012
9:48 am

I would say 4.36 40 is above SEC speed.

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
9:50 am

A University of Georgia soccer player is charged with trying to steal an order of hashbrown potatoes in her pants.
—————————————————-
Did that really happen?

WnE

February 29th, 2012
9:51 am

I thought Johnson couldn’t recruit elite athletes, WnE. I’m so confused now.
______________________

1 or 2 Elite athletes out of a Recruiting Class of 19 schollies with 6 schollies going unused is NOT what I call recruiting ENOUGH of the Elite Athletes.

How many of GT’s 2-deep depth chart (last yr. or this yr. coming up) would make the 2-deep depth chart at UGA?

How many starters from GT could start at UGA?

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
9:51 am

1 4 GT…how much faster is SEC speed? Is it close to ludicrous speed?

George Stein

February 29th, 2012
9:52 am

If he had SEC Speed, his 40 time would have been 2.1 seconds.

George Stein

February 29th, 2012
9:55 am

No one can answer that, WnE, because we run different offenses.

On defense? Probably two or three.

WnE

February 29th, 2012
9:57 am

Why does anyone respond to WEENIEHEAD aka WnE. He has an agenda. All he does is criticize and make up stuff to fit his agenda. Such as posting comments about people as though they had personally confided state secrets to his trolling butt sniffing leg humping phony self. Please just ignore this jerk. One day, he will realize how pathetically futile his rants are. Maybe. Just GO AWAY fool!!!
________________

Please JUSTIFY Coach Kung Fu Panda taking a Recruit with Randy Moss-type athleticism and then having him SHOW UP at the combine with only a 4th-5th round draft grade.

If you could tell GT fans that we have a guy on our roster that is a Randy Moss-type athlete and than have him NOT have a 100-yd receiving game among the last NINE games of 2011 and then also tell them that in those 9-games that Randy Moss type athlete NEVER had more than 3 catches in any of those 9 games.

Who would you blame, the 6-4 215lbs speedster with the 40in. vertical or the $2.5 million HC that is supposed to be a Genius that gets the MOST out of his players?

George Stein

February 29th, 2012
9:57 am

WnE

February 29th, 2012
9:59 am

No one can answer that, WnE, because we run different offenses.

On defense? Probably two or three.
_____________

Please name the 2 or 3 guys guys from our crappy Defense that could start for a Top-10/Top-15 defense at UGA?

You’re making this too EASY for me Steinie!

GTfan2012

February 29th, 2012
10:01 am

Everyone remember when reading WnE’s comments… He is a proven liar. He made up a story about UGA’s recruiting of Stephen Hill, he continues to make of lies about CPJ’s recruiting of SAs, even though he can’t prove anything of what he says. He has an agenda that is driven only by his hatred of CPJ. I don’t know why, and I won’t even speculate, but this hatred blinds him into saying and doing things that are detremental to GT. So even though he claims to be a GT fan (which I doubt by have no way to disprove), he really does immense damage to GT. So even if he is a GT fan, all GT fans should ignore everything he says because his lies are damaging to GT.

George Stein

February 29th, 2012
10:02 am

There’s probably be a place for Julian Burnett on any defense, Attaochu could play for anyone, Louis Young could probably play for them, and I think Isaiah Johnson or a healthy Fred Holton could play, too.

UGA’s defense was good this year because the defensive line was not getting driven back every play.

1 4 GT

February 29th, 2012
10:02 am

Were the hash browns scattered, covered, chunked and smothered?? Someone must have really been horn…oooops….hungry.

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
10:04 am

Shultis admitted to a police officer that she had stuffed the hashbrowns in her pants to avoid paying for them, the Red & Black reported.

Shultis also told police that she had enough money to pay for the hashbrowns, which were valued at $1.06, the paper said.

The police report also stated that Shultis removed the hashbrowns from her pants and tried to put them back on the food counter when she realized she’d been spotted.

She was arrested and taken to the Clarke County jail.

She also received a one-year ban from campus eateries — The Bulldog Café, Tate Café, Taste of Home Café, Red Clay Café, Dawg Snacks, Village Market, DogBone, Bone Appétit, The Cremery, ‘Tween the Pages, Dawg Bites and Jittery Joes, the Red & Black reported.
———————————————–
Wow oh wow. Sent to jail over $1.06 hashbrowns? Was the crime taking them or trying to put them back for others to eat after they had been in her pants?

1 4 GT

February 29th, 2012
10:08 am

GTfan2012 Heck fire, the troll, weeniehead, is damaging to himself. Besides, no one of even a modest amount of intellect takes the fool seriously anyway.

WnE

February 29th, 2012
10:12 am

Everyone remember when reading WnE’s comments… He is a proven liar. He made up a story about UGA’s recruiting of Stephen Hill, he continues to make of lies about CPJ’s recruiting of SAs, even though he can’t prove anything of what he says. He has an agenda that is driven only by his hatred of CPJ. I don’t know why, and I won’t even speculate, but this hatred blinds him into saying and doing things that are detremental to GT. So even though he claims to be a GT fan (which I doubt by have no way to disprove), he really does immense damage to GT. So even if he is a GT fan, all GT fans should ignore everything he says because his lies are damaging to GT.
_________________________

Fact: Stephen Hill compares favorably to Randy Moss athletically

Fact: Stephen Hill went into the Combine with a 4th-5th round draft grade

Conclusion: Stephen Hill was POORLY COACHED by CPJ & his Staff!

Show me where the LIES are?

You might not like my CONCLUSION, but others have made that same conclusion, and they aren’t liars, combine my conclusion(s) with they WAY that GT plays STs and it is reasonable to conclude that GT is poorly coached under CPJ.

That won’t change Mr. boot-licking-toady!

GTfan2012

February 29th, 2012
10:15 am

1 4 GT, I think everyone sees through his mindless drivel, byt I just want to be sure that everyone knows that WnE in a LIAR! He will make up “facts” just to fit his point. I just want to make sure that no one is fooled when the read his “facts”. He claims that our coach lies to recruits, when this has never been proven. Even if CPJ were fired tomorrow, if recruits believe that our coach lies it does immense damage to our whole program, whether that coach is there or not. That’s why I don’t believe he is a real GT fan, or if he is he is blinded by an unnatural hatred of CPJ.

FL Jacket

February 29th, 2012
10:16 am

Slydog…

To answer your question about why CPJ didn’t exploit Hill’s talent more. Stephen Hill accounted for 50% of the passing yards and a vast majority of the receiving TD’s. However, the ball was thrown in his direction more than 50% of the time it was thrown.

What no one is talking about is how beneficial it was for him as a WR at Tech to not shy away from contact with a CB. It means he can use his hands well to break press coverage and sustain a block…which a lot like Teach’s offense…makes any NFL offense more explosive.

HighTech

February 29th, 2012
10:16 am

WnE

December 14th, 2011
2:18 pm
Before you GT fan get too happy with our “steal” of a recruit from Bama, remember that we also stole 4* Recruit Stephen Hill from uga,and then they proceeded to recruit tons of WRs that have proven to be better than S. Hill, if Hill had gone to UGa he’d be the 8th option at WR for them.

Teams like Bama/LSU that lose these types of players and even uga sometimes can jsut shrug it off and keep on doing what they’re doing.

So. Malcolm Mitchell
So. Michael Bennett
So. Chris Conley

And those are just some of the WRs that have made ugag not even miss the 4* Recruit that we stole from them, not to mention Hill can’t catch very well vs. the good teams but is great vs. the crappy D1-AAs that GT plays.

In summary take it all with a grain of salt, sometimes these things don’t play out like you hope they will.
—————————————————-
WnE

December 14th, 2011
2:34 pm
No one said cry GTBbob, just temper your enthusiasm, remember the reactions from the GT fanbase when we stole 4*-S. Hill from uga.

Since then they/uga stole 2 WRs that we WANTED badly, Justin Scott-Wesley and Cris Conley that really could have been difference makers for GT.

From Hill’s constant drops vs. BCS team I’d say that uga got the best of the deal when we “stole” S. Hill from them.

George Stein

February 29th, 2012
10:16 am

Let’s entertain WnE for a moment. Why don’t you, instead of being a Monday morning QB, tell us who Tech should hire and why he’d be more successful than Johnson.