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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

By Sammy Batten

CB Hilliard's stock rises in final prep season

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Opponents don't pass often in Glen Hilliard's direction, even if he's matched up against their best receiver.

And on the rare occasions foes have tested Hilliard, the results have been demoralizing, according to his head coach at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, SC.

“Earlier this season we were at the end of the first half,'' said Kenya Fouch, a former college player at Georgia Tech and Furman. “The other team kind of got a time out at the end of the half with a second to go and the ball on about the 40-yard line going in.

“They went to a gimmick formation and Glen ended up on one side of the field with two receivers, and our safety didn't adjust. So there's Glen over there by himself. It was a formation they had never used and they'd never shown on film.

“Well, he played in between the two guys. The ball was in the air, he made a break on it and took it to the house. That's the thing about Glen. He didn't panic. He just always expects to make the play.''

Hilliard took the interception return back 83 yards for a touchdown. It's that kind of big-play ability that first attracted the East Carolina coaching staff to Hilliard after he was recommended to them by an alum.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder had already received scholarship offers from Football Championship Subdivision programs like Coastal Carolina, Elon, S.C. State and Western Carolina when he attended a combine at Byrnes High last spring. Those offers were due, in part, to the fact that Hilliard intercepted seven passes as a junior to lead the team.

While at the Byrnes combine, Hilliard was matched up against highly regarded Hoover, AL, wide receiver Jaylon Denson, who has committed to Auburn. Hilliard's performance against Denson led to rank him as the fourth-best prospect at the event.

An ECU alum who heard about Hilliard's effort contacted the ECU staff, which consequently asked for highlight video to evaluate him. A scholarship offer came shortly after and Hilliard quickly gave the Pirates an oral commitment.

“We've heard a lot of good things about (ECU head) Coach (Ruffin) McNeill and what he wants to do there at East Carolina,'' Fouch said. “I'm proud for Glen to earn an opportunity to go up there and be part of it.

“He's gotten a lot of attention since he committed, but I can tell you he's very firm in his commitment to East Carolina. He's really comfortable with the idea of playing football at ECU and I think everybody knows that. He tells people if they ask.''

Hilliard was just a part-time player as a sophomore when Fouch arrived at Hanna in 2008. Although he wasn't ready to become a prime-time performer physically at that point, Hilliard did display a special skill that caught Fouch's eye immediately.

“What I noticed about him right off the bat was his ball skills,'' Fouch said. “When the football is in the air, he is able to make a play on it. A lot of times defensive backs bat a lot of balls down, but don't get a lot of interceptions. He's the exact opposite. If the kid gets his hands on it, he's going to catch it and have a chance for a good return.''

Hilliard played behind two seniors in the secondary as a 10th grader before taking over as a starter in 2009. His statistics haven't been as impressive this season — he had two interceptions in the first seven games — but there's a reason for that, according to Fouch.

“Nobody wants to throw in his direction,'' Fouch said. “In seven games, he's given up only seven catches for a combined total of about 20 yards. He's playing lights out right now.

“He's a kid who has gotten better every year. He works hard in the weight room, and in our speed and agility program. He's just a great competitor. He's one of those classic corners who steps on the field and could be covering Jerry Rice, and still thinks he's the best one on the field.''

The Pirates have recruited Hilliard to play cornerback and return kicks.

“He's capable of making an impact up there very quickly, just because of how athletic he is,'' Fouch said. “The sky is the limit for him because Glen is the kind of kid who will do whatever it takes to get on the field and help his team. I see him having a great career up there for East Carolina.''

Hilliard is the third defensive back to join ECU's recruiting Class of 2011. Domonique Lennon of Suffolk, VA, and Rocco Scarfone from Greensboro, N., previously made verbals to the Pirates.

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10/20/2010 01:54:54 AM


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