What a difference a year can make.
Last spring, wide receiver Austin Hill was a relatively unknown part of the Arizona Wildcats offense. He was learning every single receiving position within the offense to put himself in the best position possibly to see playing time. That hard work carried over into fall camp leading up to the start of the 2012 season.
Hill then bursted onto the scene starting with game one and finished the year as the team’s leading receiver and biggest threat. He finished the year with 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns through the air for one of the nation’s most prolific offenses.
“It was exciting because I wasn’t really expecting it,” said Austin Hill. “I was kind of under the radar. So having a decent season it kind of helped me realize what I can do and now that I know what I can do, now I got to do out there and be even better than I was.”
“I am not really a secret anymore,” Hill added. “So now I just have to go out there and be better than I was.”
Fast forward to today and spring practice 2013, Austin Hill has a new feel and new role on this Arizona team as one of the top playmakers and leaders.
“I am really working on my fundamentals and working on the things that I could have been better at last season,” explained Hill. “Working on certain routes and catching the ball better even than I did…Just little things I’ve been trying to work on this spring. Really trying to be a mentor to the younger players.”
Leading is the key word as Hill is a classic example of leading by example. As mentioned, Hill was prepared to play in every wide receiving spot at the start of last season making it hard for Rich Rodriguez to keep him off the field. It would be smart for the young receivers below him on the depth chart to follow a similar path and be ready when their name is called upon.
What made Hill the standout player that he is, was his ability last season to make the dynamic diving catches. So Hill tells the truth, when he lays his body out like that, does it hurt?
“No diving doesn’t hurt that much as long as you know how to,” Hill stated. “Some people just dive and fall on their face. Those hurt. It’s kind of a certain technique that I don’t know, my body just naturally does.”
Austin Hill and the Wildcats close out their spring practices on Saturday with their spring game from Sancet Field in Tucson.