Academics the Star of the Show on Daxton Hill's Official Visit to Michigan

Academics the Star of the Show on Daxton Hill's Official Visit to Michigan

Football

Academics the Star of the Show on Daxton Hill's Official Visit to Michigan

On Saturday, Michigan hosted arguably its top target of the 2019 recruiting cycle, with Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington five-star safety Daxton Hill taking his official visit to Ann Arbor for the Wolverines Week Three contest against SMU.

Rated by 247Sports as the top-rated safety in the class and 8th in the nation, regardless of position, Hill saw the red carpet rolled out for him on the visit, even getting some face time at midfield with Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel before the game. On top of that, he got to see a familiar face, as 2019 Michigan commit Cade McNamara was also in attendance.

daxton hill warde manuel michigan recruiting

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel courts five-star safety target Dax Hill before the game.

For Hill, who has been to campus before unofficially, top-to-bottom, the visit for the game day experience was enlightening — especially since he did get to connect with McNamara as well as several current players’ parents.

“Just seeing the game day, it was a great experience, just seeing it firsthand, seeing what it has to offer.” Hill said. “Being there with some of the recruits, some of the recruits I’ve been talking to over some time. It was just good being there. And also talking to some of the parents. They were talking to me and just saying how it is there. That was a great experience.”

McNamara was the one in attendance, but Hill says that he’s been getting recruited by a bevy of current Wolverines commits, including five-star defensive end Chris Hinton, cornerback DJ Turner and linebacker Charles Thomas, who all tell him to, “Follow my heart, take your time with it, don’t rush anything. (They) would love for me to join their family.”

Hill was hosted by two players on his visit — true freshman Mustapha Muhammad — a fellow highly-rated recruit from his region, hailing originally from Texas — and second-year safety Brad Hawkins.

Their message to him? Academics are just as important at the University of Michigan as football. So, be prepared.

“Really, (about) when they went there — it’s really a very academic school, and you just have to be on top of your work as well as football,” Hill said. “You just compete at a high level, you always have to come in, ready to work every day. And just be prepared for anything. You just go in there – it, just them telling me, put in perspective how life is there, just talking to those guys.”

For some, that might be a daunting message, but not so much for Hill, who prides himself on getting good grades. Hill says that his family has always stressed the importance of academics, thus, it’s critical that he finds a school where he can thrive in that light.

Learning more about the academic offerings at Michigan was the biggest highlight of the visit for Hill. When he came to campus back in the spring, it was pretty much all football, as the Wolverines were knee-deep in spring practice. But this time around, Hill was intent on learning more about the academic side of one of the nation’s top-rated public universities.

And he says that, along with talking to the current players about how he fits there “was eye opening.”

As someone who loves to write and would like to study journalism at the next level (Michigan doesn’t have a typical journalism degree, but does have a concentration in communications, which has a similar purview), Hill is interested in writing about sports, and learning more about how he can do that. On his visit, Michigan did introduce him to people in that department to elucidate how he could achieve said goals.

His interest in sportswriting stems from reading articles he sees on social media about athletes, what drives them, motivates them, and the like.

But, regardless of his intentions in that arena, it all starts and stops with making sure that he can pursue a degree and have the ample support he needs to balance school and football.

“I come from a family that’s really strict on how they want my grades,” Hill said.“I’ve always had good grades, so I’ve always wanted to keep that up. So I know Michigan is a great school for that. Just hearing from them, the academic staff this last weekend kind of opened my eyes, seeing how things are out there. Academia is very important.”

As far as what was so eye opening, Hill said: “Really how engaging they are, the people are. I know it’s their job to help you, but it seems like they love doing what they’re doing. They’re always just eager to help anyone that needs it.”

Hill’s primary recruiter at Michigan is someone who knows what it’s like to live and play in Oklahoma.

Kansas native Sherrone Moore cut his teeth playing college football as an offensive lineman for Oklahoma University. Once Moore took over as Michigan’s tight ends coach after his stint at Central Michigan, Hill became one of his top priorities on the recruiting trail.

It’s paying dividends, as the two have formed a strong bond over the last several months. But it isn’t a bond built on Moore telling Hill how great he is, repeatedly.

It’s more about how great he can be if he works for it.

“The bond has been very (good), we’ve been talking for awhile,” Hill said. “He’s just been telling me, ‘Just keep working.’ He’s come to my practice and come to my school a couple times. My bond is very good with him. He just keeps telling me to keep doing what I’m doing, always stay in the gym, keep your grades up and you should always strive to be better every day.”

There’s a perception that out of his final six schools, as he shared on social media back in April, that Michigan and Alabama could be the final contenders (the other four are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Clemson and Ohio State).

As far as Hill says, he’s keeping things even between the six he listed back in the spring. Having only taken two official visits thus far — to Alabama in July, then Michigan on Saturday — Hill says he still has to consult with his parents on whether or not he’ll take more, as he would like them in attendance should he choose to do so.

Despite a cryptic tweet over the summer, which insinuated that a commitment could come soon, Hill contends that he’ll make the final decision about what school he will attend when the timing feels right — and when he knows for sure that he’s comfortable with that decision.

“I don’t know – just my gut feeling, whenever I know it’s the right time for me, for any of the schools (in my top group).”

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home