Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Scouting Report: Justin Hilliard

Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier LB Justin Hilliard
Name: Justin Hilliard
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier
Position: Linebacker

Notes: Holds offers from Akron, Alabama, Arkansas, Boston College, Bowling Green, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Toledo, Virginia, Western Michigan . . . ESPN 4-star, 81 grade, #8 OLB, #145 overall . . . Rivals 4-star . . . Scout 4-star, #6 OLB . . . 247 Sports 5-star, 98 grade, #1 OLB, #17 overall . . . As a junior in 2012, had 65 tackles, 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble . . . Brother C.J. Hilliard is a class of 2014 running back who committed to Iowa in June

Strengths: Nice frame . . . Body that can hold additional weight . . . Very physical when taking on blockers . . . Has a powerful punch to separate himself from blockers . . . Keeps hands and elbows inside to generate leverage . . . Shows an effective swim move in pass rush . . . Protects his chest by swiveling upper body when side-stepping blockers . . . Very effective hitter . . . Hits with shoulders square and driving feet . . . Solid play recognition skills . . . Shows good field awareness in zone coverage drops . . . Takes good angles to football and stays out of the trash . . . Active hands to bat down passes, strip the football, etc.

Weaknesses: Good speed but not the fastest linebacker around . . . A little stiff in the hips and may not be a great man coverage defender

Projection: Linebacker. I know that's vague, and it would depend on the system, but I could see Hilliard playing any of the three or four linebacker positions in a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. He has good recognition skills, enough to play on the inside. He also has heavy enough hands and a good enough reach to take on tight ends and an occasional lineman as an outside linebacker. He has a relatively lean frame that could see him stay around 225-230 or bulk up to 240-245 lbs. if he wanted. In my opinion, he's the best class of 2015 prospect in the state of Ohio I've seen so far. I see Hilliard as a guy who could come in to just about any program and play early, potentially growing into an All-American candidate and NFL draft pick.

Reminds me of: Clay Matthews

Likelihood of coming to Michigan: Hilliard likes Michigan, camped in Ann Arbor in June, and will visit for the game against Ohio State. The front runners appear to be Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Having a brother at Iowa might be a pull, and the Hawkeyes do develop very good defensive players, but I think he'll have his sights set higher than that. I have a feeling that Hilliard will not pick the Wolverines in the end, but they're not out of the running. If I had to take a stab right now, I would say Alabama because I think he would fit well with their defensive philosophy.

Highlights: Highlights can be found on Hudl.


  1. Do you think we should make a petition to fire Funk

  2. OT question. What is your opinion of Ron English as a defensive coach? I remember him being a very fiery guy, and our '06 defense was one of the best I've seen us field. Any way Hoke brings him back as a secondary coach or something? Big drop from HC to that, but I imagine his options Limited with the way he was let go. Thoughts?

  3. St x is a Jesuit school and has sent several players to ND including current qb Hendrix and former defensive captain Boiman.

  4. I don't think Justin is a Jesuit....I think he is Franciscan