Florida International University quarterback E.J. Hilliard spent his first three years at Miami Northwestern High School as the backup to Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, who starts for Louisville, was one of the top recruits in 2010 and had originally committed to his hometown Miami Hurricanes. However, after they let Randy Shannon go as Head Coach, Bridgewater opened back up his recruitment and settled on Louisville.
The year after Bridgewater graduated, E.J. Hilliard took over as the starting Quarterback at Miami Northwestern. Unlike Bridgewater, he wasn’t highly rated or recruited by Division 1 teams. He was ranked No. 197 at the QB position nationally by Max Preps and 19 in the state of Florida. He ended up accepting his only scholarship offer from Florida International University.
Louisville and FIU are two programs going in opposite direction. After back to bowl games in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, FIU went 3-for-9 last year and are currently 0-for-3 in their first season in Conference USA. They have been outscored a combined 115-23 by Maryland, Central Florida and Bethune Cookman. The lost at home to Bethune Cookman 34-13 last week. Hilliard is only starting this game because of an injury to Junior Quarterback Jake Medlock.
Louisville is 3-0 and ranked number 7 in the AP Standings. They won the Big East last year and beat number 3 Florida 33-23 in last years Sugar Bowl. They are in the news every week with a Heisman hopeful at Quarterback and a possibility of an undefeated season.
Louisville hammered FIU 72-0 on Saturday. Bridgewater finished 17 for 22 with 212 yards, four TDs and no interceptions in a little more than one half of football. Hilliard finished 4-for-9 with 27 yards and had -32 yards rushing. Bridgewater had 213 yards total and Hilliard finished with negative five.
This gap in the scoreboard was about as big as the gap between the skill levels of these two high school teammates. If Hilliard learned anything from Bridgewater in high school, it didn’t show on Saturday morning.