Daxton Hill immediately fell in love with Michigan when he arrived on campus earlier this month. His recruiting timeline was tumultuous, filled with twists and turns. After initially committing to Michigan last September, he then flipped and stated he would be joining the Alabama Crimson Tide.
But the Michigan Wolverines coaching staff stayed patient. They liked what they had seen and knew that Hill would come around when the time was right. Despite the arduous journey, Hill would eventually end up signing to play for the Michigan Wolverines this upcoming season.
A decision that Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh sees as pivotal for paving the foundation of the secondary.
“It’s really starting to sink in with me,” stated Harbaugh when Hill visited Michigan in June. “It’ sinking in that Dax is going to be playing very early in his career here at the University of Michigan.”
Daxton Hill Possesses Unparalleled Speed at Safety Position
What jumps out immediately about Hill’s profile is his unparalleled speed. In high school, the safety ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash, tied for first in the nation. Coupled with his vertical jump that was ranked fourth nationwide, Hill will create problems for any opposing wide receivers.
Hill’s speed will help the defensive coverage, as he will close the gaps with ease and prevent opposing receivers from breaking into open space. His natural ability to rotate his hips inhibits the receiver from making multiple cuts to get open. Hill’s nimbleness will be presented on full display when he can switch from the outside to slot receiver, not losing any speed when they turn up the field for a long pass. The press man coverage is integral to Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme. Skills that will appeal to Hill’s game.
Attending Tulsa Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the young prospect shined. With 213 total tackles and eight interceptions, Hill’s instinctive skills made him one of the most sought out defensive prospects. And a talent that can be making an instant impact for Michigan on day one.
“With freshmen, it’s really hard to gauge (if they can play early),” stated Wolverines tight ends coach Sherrone Moore. “He has all the ability in the world, obviously, from a skill-set standpoint.”
Michigan Wolverines Set for Dominant Secondary
Last season, the Michigan Wolverines possessed one of the most punitive defenses. Ranked second in pass defense (145.9 yards per game), with 11 interceptions, it provided the impetus for the Wolverines to be a championship contender.
Even with the great defense, Harbaugh knows his team wasn’t fast enough compared to the competition. The Ohio State Buckeyes still possess the most lethal offensive attack in the Big Ten. Michigan fans remember far too well what happened last November when the Buckeyes pummeled the Wolverines 62-39. Having Hill be the anchor of the speed on defense will be crucial for Michigan in order to slow down opposing offenses.
With Hill’s speed, he will be able to cover a lot of ground effectively, turning the deep bombs from opposing offenses into turnovers or incomplete passes. The Michigan coaches plan to use him on defense and special teams primarily. However, there could be places where he can fit on the offense, particularly if the Wolverines are in need of a burst of speed for a few yards.
With the recent news of 4-star safety Jordan Morant committing to Michigan, the Wolverines are set up to have a dominant secondary in the coming years. With the recruiting saga behind him, Hill can now put his sole focus on football and being one of the standout defensive freshmen in the nation.
“He’s a very mellow kid,” Moore said. “So for him, he just wanted to make sure he had the right fit. He knew it from the first time he stepped on campus. It worked out good for us.”