It does not seem like very long ago when no one knew who Austin Hill was.
That notion was very short lived as he bursted onto the scene in year one under Rich Rodriguez at Arizona as he caught 81 balls for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the Wildcat receivers earning him Second Team All-Conference Honors as well as being named a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist.
There were high hopes for him going into 2013 but during spring practice leading up to last season, Hill went down with a torn ACL which forced him to miss the entire season.
Those months resulted in some of the most difficult of Hill’s life so far.
“My Dad kept me straight,” Hill said. “I lost faith a little bit throughout the injury but with my parents supporting me everyday, it was easily overcome. They ended up giving me enough energy to push through even more than I thought I could.”
While going through the rehab process, Hill had some very humbling moments. Like the times at the beginning where he was asked to simply lift up his leg.
“I always think back to the hardest thing I had to do in rehab and that was just lifting my leg up off the table,” Hill explained. “Thousands of times just lifting it off the table and for the first week of rehab, I couldn’t even lift it off the table. It was an eye opener.”
“It was a crazy experience,” he added. “But with the right support, I was able to push through and be better than I was before.”
Fast forward to today and Hill is back on the practice field with the Wildcats running with the starters and preparing for the 2014 season. He is one of the leaders for arguably the deepest position on the team, the wide receiving core. Hill explains that is known within in the group and the competition amongst them adds an extra chip on their shoulders.
“We have a lot of receivers who are hungry, want to play and want to prove to coach that they can be the man,” Hill mentioned. “With so many receivers who are doing that, we are going to have four or five receivers who are just going to be phenomenal this year and I can’t wait.”
The great unknown now is who is going to get Hill and this great group the football. The quarterback position has been the biggest question regarding the team during fall camp, and Hill said, without naming any names, there are some guys amongst that group whom have stood out.
“There are definitely a couple who have won me over as good quarterbacks that I believe that we can win with,” Hill stated. “And like to throw me the ball as well. As a receiver, you like the quarterback who throws you the ball. I loved Matt Scott and I’ll love the next quarterback whoever that is.”
Hill will take the field for the first time since the 2012 season on Friday, August 29th from Arizona Stadium in their season opener against UNLV.