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THROWBACK THURSDAY: WILL “THE THRILL”
At St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, just 11 miles from the Quest Diagnostics Training Facility in East Rutherford, Hill , a 2008 graduate, was one of the most electrifying players to ever step on a New Jersey high school football field.
“He’s amazing,” St. Peter’s coach Rich Hansen said. “He’s a terrific athlete, he’s great to coach and he’s fun to watch. He’s explosive, intense, very focused and the kid’s got five percent body fat, so every bit of him is muscle. I wouldn’t want to play against him, I can tell you that.”
Hill, nicknamed “Will the Thrill”, won nearly every award available during his four years at St. Peter’s. As a senior he was the nation’s No. 2 recruit by ESPN, a Parade All-American, an EA Sports first-team All-American and two-time New Jersey Player of the Year.
But his two New Jersey Player of the Year awards did not come on the defensive side of the ball.
Hill doubled as the team’s quarterback, passing for 947 yards, rushing for 950 yards and scoring a combined 26 times as a senior. Behind him, St. Peter’s won the 2005 Non-Public, Group A state championship in a bracket with national powers Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey and Bergen Catholic of Oradell.
He was just as dangerous during his junior campaign, picking up 3,827 all-purpose yards and 34 touchdowns. In three years as the team’s starter, Hill guided St. Peter’s to a 34-2 record. His team’s only two losses came to Matt Simms, currently on the Jets’ roster, and Don Bosco in the 2006 and 2007 state championship games.
On Sept. 20, 2007, Hill committed to the University of Florida to play safety, though he did have offers to play quarterback. He had scholarship offers from Miami, Michigan, USC and Florida State, just to name a few. He picked up 144 tackles, four interceptions and a sack as a Gator and recorded the first tackle in the 2009 BSC national championship game which Florida won, 24-14, over Oklahoma.
Hill declared for the NFL Draft after his junior year but went undrafted. After a year with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League, he was signed as a free agent by the Giants in 2012.
He recorded his first career interception on Sunday in the Giants’ victory over Philadelphia. The second-year pro has 63 tackles and a forced fumble in 16 career games.
“I think Spencer (Paysinger) has done a great job this year. We had to put him in that role and he took to that role very easily, in different packages. He does a good job of that. I think for his development, that was good. He has developed into a good football player and continues to play and get his ankle right. I think having Jon will help him, too, because Jon’s been in the league for seven or eight years and this is Spencer’s third or fourth year, I think. It will help him, just to see a different type of guy and personality.” -LB coach Jim Hermann
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