What a college career K.J. Hill had. After nearly playing college football elsewhere, the wide receiver from Arkansas went on to become Ohio State’s all-time leading pass catcher. Now, Hill will likely have his name called in the later portion of the 2020 NFL Draft and find out where he will begin his professional football career.
Hill came out of Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was the top player in the state, and a four-star recruit. Originally, Hill verbally committed to play football at Arkansas, but a month before National Signing Day he opened his recruitment back up. Ohio State was able to beat out Alabama in landing Hill’s commitment, bringing the wide receiver to Columbus.
After redshirting in 2015, Hill saw a good amount of snaps as a redshirt freshman, catching 18 passes. In 2017, Hill started to become a favorite of Buckeye quarterbacks, catching at least 50 passes in each of his final three seasons at Ohio State. By the time all was said and done, Hill would eclipse David Boston’s school record of 191 career receptions. Hill finished his Ohio State career with 201 catches.
Throughout his Ohio State career, Hill was always there to make the catch in high pressure situations. The reliability Hill showed at Ohio State is a big reason why NFL teams are looking at him. There’s nothing special about Hill in terms of size or athleticism, but he more than makes up for it with his hands and toughness.
Another thing that makes Hill so good is his route work. Hill is able to create separation from defenders because of how well he can run routes. Because Hill isn’t going to threaten defenders vertically, he makes up for it by not only running crisp routes, but he has the ability to hide his rotes and force defenders into mistakes.
As good as Hill is, there are some limitations to his game. Since he isn’t a burner, Hill has a tough time creating quick separation underneath. If the ball gets into Hill’s hands, he isn’t going to break many tackles or run away from defenders.
Another issue teams might find with Hill is he has shorter arms, which leaves him with a smaller catch radius. If teams do a little more homework on Hill though, they’ll see that even with the smaller catch radius, Hill catches a lot of what is thrown at him. If the quarterback gives Hill a decent shot at making the catch, he is more than likely going to pull the football in.
Hill likely will have to wait until day three to hear his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft, but any team would be lucky to have him on their roster. Once Hill does land with a team, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him last a while in the NFL. While Hill isn’t going to reel in passes like Michael Thomas, he has the feel of that receiver who always finds a way to make big catches in the clutch.
Hill’s size and lack of burner speed will leave him as a slot receiver. Not that Hill can’t find success at that position. Who knows, maybe Hill can turn into the next Wes Welker or Julian Edelman. It was a pleasure to watch Hill as a Buckeye, and hopefully more greatness is to come for him in the NFL.