New York Giants safety Will Hill has had a turbulent ride to get where he is today. He has gone from one of the top recruits in high school to nearly throwing his football career away while at the University of Florida, to getting a second life with the Giants. Hill’s journey to the NFL is not typical, especially for someone who declares early for the NFL Draft. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and spent a year in the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers before the Giants gave him a shot this season to make an NFL roster and Hill has impressed so far.
Because of injuries, Hill has been getting quite a bit of playing time at the hybrid safety/linebacker spot that Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell likes to employ in certain defensive schemes. Instead of looking overmatched, Hill has excelled, giving the Giants a potential replacement for Deon Grant who filled that role for the Giants the past two years.
In the Giants 32-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first week of the preseason, Hill recorded 4 tackles, most of them coming from the “in the box” safety position. Hill’s speed and hard-hitting ability seem to suit him for that hybrid spot and he seems to delight in being able to make some punishing hits running downhill.
In Saturday night’s 26-3 win over the New York Jets, Hill was tied for second on the team with 4 total tackles, including a sack on Jets quarterback Tim Tebow on a blitz that forced a fourth down with a little over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Tebow got to his feet and appeared to be very angry with his offensive line.
Hill seemed to delight in dishing out hard hits on Jets of all positions and seemed to have an excellent understanding of what was expected of him throughout the game. Throughout training camp, Hill has impressed Giants coaches and he has seen quite a bit of playing time with the first offense in practice. Hill’s emergence could very well be the reason the Giants have not signed Deon Grant in the wake of Terrell Thomas’ injury and Tyler Sash’s looming suspension. Hill has been getting better every week and it is starting to show on the field. Hill very well could emerge as a secret weapon on the Giants defense this season.
The talent has always been there with Hill. His dedication and motivation were not. Until now, that is. Hill has done everything the Giants have asked of him and more and he very well could go from an NFL after-thought to playing an instrumental role on a team trying to defend its Super Bowl Championship in the very state he grew up in.