Alex Brink was the quarterback and Hill was
deep down the field blanketed by two defenders. Brink did his best to throw a
pass that Hill had a chance of getting, but the throw looked a bit long and high
and no one expected him to get anywhere near it. But Hill elongated his body,reaching over the two cover-men, somehow pulling the pass back to earth.
“For a true freshman that catch that
he made was unbelievable,” said head coach Bill Doba.
Before making comparisons of Hill to
other wide receivers who made impacts their freshman year, such as Reggie
Williams of Washington and Mike Williams of USC, Doba would like to
point out that Hill is a good two or 3 inches shorter than either of the
Williams and Mike Williams are about this tall,” said Doba, raising his hand
about a foot over Hill’s head.
Hill may not be the physical
specimen that either of the Williams is, but between him and redshirt freshman
Chris Jordan, the two could have the same impact for WSU as either of the
Williams. WSU will need the depth that Hill and Jordan could bring.
“Their potential upside is huge,”
said offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller, who held the WSU record for
most receptions in a season for 25 years. “But they’ve got some work to do. They
key is commitment: how long will they work to be the best?”
Levenseller knows a little something
about potential and commitment. Coming out of high school, in 1974, WSU barely
looked his way. The only person that would was a young assistant Cougar coach
named Mike Price. In fact, the day Price signed Levenseller he played
“hide and seek” from the coaching staff that had overlooked him. By the time his
career was over, Levenseller held the Pac-8 record for most receiving yards in a
season and was twice named first team All-Conference and All-West Coast.
Levenseller will be the man the two
need to impress if they expect to see significant playing time and so far they
have done that.
“The easiest way to my heart is to
go attack someone,” Levenseller said.
So far that’s what the two have
done. The coach describes both as tough kids but said they also have a wide
learning curve ahead of them.
“Jason is a strong, really strong,
physical, hit-you-in-the-mouth, kind of kid. He’s real tenacious,” Levenseller
said. “Chris is good and wants to be really good. He’s got a lot of learning to
do and I’ve showed a lot of trust in him.”
Jordan has not betrayed that trust
so far, either. In two scrimmages he has caught seven passes for 102 yards. Hill
has played sparingly but caught three passes for 25 yards.
More than anything though the two
understand they are learning from one of the best to ever play their position
and are all ears.
“I’m a learner,” said Hill. “I take
the best of what I see in everyone and make it my own. I have high expectations
and I know what Levy can bring out of me.”
Jordan is in a different situation
than Hill is. While both will be expected to play, Jordan has a year of
practicing with a Pac-10 Championship team under his belt and will be expected
to know the system better.
“This year I
know what to work on,” Jordan said. “It feels good to be able to contribute.
Coach Levy teaches me a lot of new stuff but he also wants me to exploit my
Jordan also said that older
receivers such as Devard Darling have helped tutor him.
“He told me be confident and go out
there,” Jordan said. “Know you’ll drop some balls, but don’t worry, you’ll get
your chance to shine.”