Will Hill finally making name for himself on Giants

Will Hill.

Every training camp has one or two guys who are merely brought in as a roster-filler and camp body, and who end up blossoming into much more. And if safety Will Hill has it his way, he’ll be that next rising star. While wideout Victor Cruz was that guy last year, turning into a multi-media crossover star, Hill’s ascension will likely be more gradual. But if you ask the former Florida Gator about his time in camp so far, he certainly doesn’t lack in confidence. 
 
“Everybody has been a little impressed about my play right now,” Hill said, adding his checkered past is what makes him zone in. “I play with a little bit more oomph behind me [because] I had dark times [and] I know what’s on the other side and I don’t want to go back. … Plus, I haven’t played football in a year. I’ve got a lot built up in me so I’ve been needing to hit somebody.” 
 
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety has indeed been hitting guys when allowed in practice and definitely in actual games. The Giants have used him on special teams, but also more importantly in the regular defensive rotation because they like his aggressiveness and the way he flies to the ball. 

Head coach Tom Coughlin said he’s seen some good things from Hill and, if he makes the team, can envision using him as a “move around” safety in nickel and dime packages, much like they used Antrel Rolle and the now-departed Deon Grant last season.  

“Will Hill has played aggressively in practice and has done the same in games, which I’m glad to see,” Coughlin said. “He’s been in on a lot of plays, especially made plays in blitzes, and when on special teams. … Now, he’s had a couple of spots where he’s been out of position and given up plays on the run but overall he’s done some good things. I’ve been encouraged by what he’s done. He continues to grow as he gets more opportunities. It’d be a nice story for the kid if he can put it all together.”

Prior to his time at Florida, Hill put everything together as he was a standout player at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J. Hill had his pick of any college after excelling at quarterback, running back, receiver, and safety — but shortly after his arrival at Gainesville, the self-assured Hill found trouble.

“It was all about Me, Me, Me,” he said about the troubles that ultimately got him suspended for violating team rules. “Just thinking too highly of myself and thinking, ‘Oh, I am at the top again, nothing can happen to me, and I can do whatever I want.’ And I paid for it.”

As a result, Hill wasn’t drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and had to settle on playing with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League. He officially signed as a free agent with the Giants in May and hasn’t yet made the coaching staff regret taking the once-controversial safety.    

“I’m very impressed with Will Hill,” said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. “He’s 30 minutes early for the meetings and when I go into the meeting room, he’s always in there studying. He’s a very athletic young man. This is his second chance so to speak, so he’s being the ultimate pro by the way he is preparing for his opportunity.”      

Hill prepped for his second chance by working with former NFL defensive backs Ray Buchanan and Sam Madison, a former Giant, before reporting to camp and the results showed immediately. He was instantly inserted into just about every special teams unit — and has now started to earn the trust of his coaches to play a larger role on defense as the first name called to backup starters Rolle and Kenny Philips.     

“Will is a guy that we all see his athletic ability,” said safeties coach Dave Merritt. “This kid has speed, quickness, burst and acceleration. And this young man has all the tools that you want as a defensive back. The thing that Will is going to have learn is the playbook — the details of the details. He has a long way to go [but] right now, he’s displaying the talents that we need.”  

Fewell has a knack of putting guys in position to succeed and not ask them to do anything above their means. And with Hill’s considerable physical talents, Fewell thinks he found a niche for Hill, as the “Rover” of the secondary — someone able to fly around as a free safety but also play close to the line of scrimmage as a quasi-linebacker in nickel defense.   

Hill said he enjoys Fewell’s scheme because it’s similar to what he did during his time at Florida.   

“I like it a lot [because] when I came in at Florida, that [Rover] was the first position I actually played,” Hill said. “So by me coming in here and doing that, they seem similar and I’m already [acclimated] with the position.”     

He then added he’s been so manic on the field because it wasn’t too long ago that nobody wanted to take a chance on him.    

“My mindset is either kill or be killed because everybody is out here fighting for a job along with me,” Hill said. “I remember how [bad] it was, so it is either do I want that job or not? It is a kill-or-be-killed mentality so I am going to be the killer.”


Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter
@TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.