The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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64 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018   COMMITMENT PROFILE M ichigan doesn't recruit the state of Oklahoma very often or very successfully, but that didn't stop the staff from snagging the top player in the Sooner State in the middle of September. Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Wash- ington five-star safety Daxton Hill chose Michigan over Ala- bama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, giving head coach Jim Har- baugh and his staff one of their biggest wins on the recruiting trail since arriving in Ann Arbor. Hill, Rivals' No. 1 safety and No. 24 overall player nation- ally, had a very successful of- ficial visit to U-M the weekend before he committed, and he headed home knowing he'd soon be a Wolverine. "The visit went well. I felt real at home there," Hill said. "Being there again for the sec- ond time was a great experi- ence. I talked to the coaches and everybody again, and it felt comfortable. "I talked with coach Sherrone Moore, of course. I also talked with Coach [Chris] Partridge and Coach [Don] Brown a lot. They just talked to me about how if I came there I would make a big impact on their defense as well as on offense if they decided to play me there, too. The days with them were really good." Once Hill spent time on campus and around the coaches he knew that he wanted to commit to Michigan, but even then the staff played its cards right. They didn't pressure the five-star prospect like so many other staffs did throughout the process, and that made the de- cision even easier for Hill. "They were really relaxed about it," Hill explained. "They were trying to give me advice, and telling me to take my time and follow my heart. "They definitely told me that they'd love to have me there, but there was no pressure." Many people assumed that Hill would either follow in his brother Justice's footsteps and attend Oklahoma State or that the mighty Sooners would win out. Then, buzz started to build around the idea of Hill leaving his home state to play college ball, and most recruiting analysts assumed that meant Alabama would be procuring his pledge. The Michigan coaches just kept hanging in there and im- pressing Hill and his parents, and ultimately picked up the commitment. Booker T. Wash- ington head coach Brad Calip was there every step of the way and saw Michigan build- ing more and more momen- tum as time passed. "I asked him, 'Do you want to maybe stay close to mom and dad?' and he said no. He said that he re- ally wanted to go somewhere and make a name for himself out of state," Calip said. "He's really concerned about what he's going to get his diploma in, and I think that had a factor in it too. "He also really liked the staff at Michigan. At one point, I think four or five of them came in one day. Two came in the morning and more came in the afternoon. That Michigan staff made him feel really comfortable. He got on campus and got with some guys that fit his style and demeanor. I think it was just a great fit overall." As of Oct. 16, Michigan had the No. 8 recruiting class in the country with Hill in the fold as pledge No. 23. As a junior, Hill was selected to The Oklahoman's 105th All-State first team as well as the USA Today ALL-USA Oklahoma first team. Hill was recog- nized as the best player on a defense that was atop the 6A Division II in points allowed. — Brandon Brown Five-Star Safety Daxton Hill Finds 'Great Fit' At Michigan Hill — the No. 1 safety and No. 24 overall prospect in the country according to Rivals — chose U-M over Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Daxton Hill's combination of size, speed and instincts is rare. He's close to 6-3 now, runs a legitimate sub-4.4 40-yard dash and seems to see and feel the game faster than everyone else on the field. He's a phenomenal overall athlete, and he works. He has everything you look for in a safety and that's why he's tops at the position in the 2019 cycle. Areas Of Improvement: Like so many elite athletes at the high school level, Hill has a tendency to take a play off here and there because he can still flip the switch whenever he needs to. At the next level, that will not be the case. Once he develops a level of consistency and remains "switched on" for an entire game, the sky is the limit for him. Michigan Player Comparison: Hill is considered an elite athlete, but he's still probably a notch under where Jabrill Peppers was coming in. Still, the two both showed in high school that they are rare talents and can literally play just about anywhere on the field. Hill is a little bit better at coverage, while Peppers brought a more physical side to the secondary before being moved to viper. Both are extremely fast, instinc- tive and smart, and immediately make an entire defense better. — Analysis from

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