A name that keeps popping up in almost every Oregon football media availability throughout this short training camp period is Jamal Hill.
The 6’1”, 200-pound defensive back from Morrow, Georgia has entered his sophomore year with the Oregon program. In 2019, he saw time in every game, recorded six tackles and five solo, and was a stud on kickoff and punt coverage.
Imagine ‘Megatron’ but in the secondary.
Last Saturday, head coach Mario Cristobal said they believed the team ‘got a gem’ when recruiting Hill to the Pacific Northwest.
So far, it sounds like it's paying off.
Hill snagged an interception in Oregon’s first scrimmage of training camp last Saturday in Autzen Stadium. This is something Duck fans should keep an eye out for.
With Jevon Holland opting out of this upcoming season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, Hill has stepped into that nickel position in the secondary, one that Holland made a name for himself at. Now it’s time for Hill to shine like a gem.
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“Jamal is a really fast, really athletic guy,” said teammate Steve Stephens IV. “Very smart, very intelligent on the field. Playing that nickel position, he’s able to play it fast. He understands the offensive concepts, he understands the defense, so he’s really able to go out there and play fast.”
How is someone who spent most of their time on special teams in a backup role able, and not redshirting a year, already having this much of an impact so early in his collegiate career? Hill acted like a sponge and absorbed everything he possibly could last season.
On Tuesday, when asked who specifically took him under their wing last season, Hill named nearly everyone on defense:
“I feel like I was the little brother to the whole defense to be honest,” said Hill. “Troy Dye, Jevon [Holland], Verone [McKinnley III], Nick Pickett, Deommodore [Lenoir], Thomas [Graham Jr.], Jordon [Scott]… They all took me under their wing and they showed me the ropes for sure. How everything needed to be done from meetings to practice, how we handle ourself off the field. They really showed me all that.”
The ‘little brother’ sure doesn’t sound like a little brother anymore.
It isn’t just Hill’s size and speed that catch your eye, but it’s his confidence, demeanor and coach-ability that allow him to cover multiple positions on the field, including multiple tight ends sets. And to have someone like that at Nickel is a huge advantage.
“I trust my skill set against anybody my coach feels like he need me to guard,” said Hill.
Just how will this gem shine when the lights come on that first Saturday of the season? We’ll see on November 7 when he and the Ducks host Stanford at Autzen Stadium.
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