Virginia Tech Football 2015 Recruiting Class First Look: Trevon Hill

Defensive end Trevon Hill was an important signing for Virginia Tech.

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As Hokie Nation fretted over the recruitment of blue chip defensive end prospects like Josh Sweat and Jalen Dalton, I was vocal that Tech already had the most productive, ready to play defensive end in Virginia already committed. Virginia Beach's Trevon Hill, a 6-4 220 pound defensive end from Salem High School, committed to the Hokies over North Carolina early in the recruiting cycle. Hill was rated as the as a four-star weakside defensive end and the 12th best recruit in Virginia by 247Sports, but he seems to have been overlooked by many Hokies after not finishing his senior season enrolled at Salem High school. As a junior, Hill was named first team VHSL All State after a 23 sack performance.

Defensive end is a showcase position in Bud Foster's defense, but it has been challenging for the Hokies to build depth at d-end even though Charley Wiles likes to rotate two defensive line groups. In 2013, James Gayle and J.R. Collins were spelled almost exclusively by Dadi Nicolas, while in 2014 there was a significant dropoff in productivity between the first group of Ken Ekanem and Nicolas to Dwayne Alford and Seth Dooley.The status quo will be less ideal once Nicolas using up his eligibility after this season.

Despite the veteran presence of Dooley and Alford, I expect Trevon Hill to immediately contend for a spot in the two-deep, most likely playing behind Dadi Nicolas at stud defensive end. The stud defensive end lines up over the right offensive tackle, and often plays covered up with a tight end. The stud is often the most talented Hokie defensive end, and the position requires the ability to contain and fight off blocks when playing on the strong side. Unlike many pass-rushing high school defensive ends that align wide and run around the edge with speed, Hill has experience playing as a 3-4 defensive end aligned on the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle. That experience will be invaluable as Foster puts tremendous pressure on the stud end to beat blockers without losing gap control.

If pressed to describe Hill's highlight film, three words come to mind: productive, polished, and aggressive. Hill's highlight reel is close to 8 minutes long of playmaking. He is solid against the run and the pass. He plays multiple roles, and when asked to be a decoy he completes his assignments responsibly. He makes big plays at big moments, most notably a crashing play against a quarterback sneak that forces a goal line fumble as the opposition is poised to score a touchdown. Unlike Sweat, Hill didn't have other FBS-caliber talent around him on defense, yet he was still productive.

I am most impressed with Hill's polish. Hill utilizes leverage techniques like hand slaps, rip moves, and swim moves like a seasoned pro. When you watch film of Hill versus a top recruit like Ken Ekanem, Hill is already well advanced from a technique perspective. This first play on his tape showcases Hill's electric swim move to the inside.

Throughout his tape, Hill seems to love using a rip move to beat offensive tackles through their inside shoulder. This is effective against the run and the pass, and once he gets an angle past the blocker, Hill is excellent at bending his body to get square with the offensive player who has the football. Coach Foster places a premium on his defensive ends to bend to take advantage of penetration at the point of attack, pursue flat down the line of scrimmage from the back side, or pressure the quarterback without opening up a lane for him to scramble.

Here, Hill is aligned as a five-technique. He rips hard inside the tackle and beats the guard trying to reach him on an outside zone play.

Once he penetrates, he squares himself and moves back to the outside to meet the running back head on. This is stellar run defense.

Hill's technique is strong, and he bends his body incredibly well, but I think fans will be endeared to his style of play because of how he throws himself into tackles, much like Dadi Nicolas. Hill has long arms and when trying to make a tackle where he doesn't have a great angle, you will often see Hill leap and throw his arms like logs on top of the quarterback's shoulders to drag him down. You will see Hill's legs flailing around as his body weight drags down the passer. Here are a couple of great examples where technique and bend meet tenacity for great plays.

On this play, he beats the tackle with a little outside lean fake and then rip back inside. He hurls his body at the quarterback, but the quarterback gets away. Hill doesn't give up on the play and gets up to chase him down.

Check out Hill's potential as an edge rusher. Because he is playing inside, he uses an outside-leverage bull-rush so he can keep contain responsibility. Once he clears the blocker, he bends hard back to the inside to chase down the quarterback as he steps up in the pocket.

The Hokies have had many fast pass rushing ends that could get up field in a hurry. The great ones were the guys who could get to that edge and then turn the corner as quarterbacks stepped up in the pocket. In 2013, when the Hokies struggled mightily against running quarterbacks, one of the primary problems were the defensive ends (primarily James Gayle, who we now know was competing with a badly injured shoulder) getting pushed past the pocket after good initial pressure. Hill has the ability to bend his body and capitalize on that speed rush.

I really wish Hill could have been an early enrollee. He is a kid that could use some good weight (with his frame he looks like he could play around 240 without losing any of his quickness) and the one area I found where Hill needs to improve is his explosiveness off the snap. A spring with Coach Gentry in the weight room and doing resistance spring and shuttle work would have benefited Hill tremendously. Spring practice would have also given Hill an opportunity to learn the nuance of Coach Foster's often counter-intuitive defensive front movements and techniques. That being said, barring a significant improvement by Dooley and Alford, I fully expect Hill to make the two-deep this season and he will be expected to make an impact.

Comments

Great write up, I will admit I was one of those Hokies that got last in the whole 5 star shootout but reading this and watching this kids film it is going to be great if he gets in the two deep behind Dadi!

-Semper Primus

High praise coming from French, or a show of the sad state of our D-line that an undersized true freshmen is expected to make the 2-deep? Hopefully he enrolls in the first summer session and starts enjoying the dinning halls and weight room as soon as possible...

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“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

To be fair, it's not the entire D-line that's undersized and undermanned 2-deep, just the ends. We're absolutely stacked at DT.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Yep, say all you want about the DE depth but the DT depth is sick.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

We have a lot of bodies for sure.

Reality has a mighty pimp hand.

yeah, that's well put. We have some question marks. I don't think it would be crazy in 12 months to be talking about needing some DT's.

We'll obviously need to replace Maddy, but I don't see us taking more than 1, maybe 2 DTs in this class. We've got quite a bit of young talent on the roster right now. Just about all of them look like they could be solid, productive players (and Settle has superstar potential). I wouldn't be surprised to see the coaches lock up one solid prospect (a Lewis or Whitehead type) and then really reach hard for a superstar or two.

Agreed, not much need in this class because you need to give Walker, Sobczak, Mihota, Whitehead, Nijman, Settle, Lewis and Fullwood a chance to show what they are. One or two at the most this year.

But that's 8 names, not including the upperclassmen. And of those 8 names, there are about 7 with some fairly significant question marks. We need about 3 or 4 to become solid players.

Great analysis. He looks like the real deal.

Great write-up French. This guy Hill is one of my favorite recruits this year. I relate to the "undersized, underprized, I've-got-something-to-prove," mentality. While he may not be as small or undervalued as he may think, it is good to fuel greatness with the highest of standards from within oneself.
Hill definitely combines a lot of tools to get the job done, he is a craftsman of the DEs. He is probably not going to manhandle anyone but he is going to make a lot of OL look silly, IMO.

I really wish Hill could have been an early enrollee. He is a kid that could use some good weight (with his frame he looks like he could play around 240 without losing any of his quickness

I feel like his frame will allow for even more. I wandered across his profile on twitter and he has been putting in the work, and looked considerably heaver than the 220 listed as his weight. I honestly think he reports at 240 of good lbs- 235 if its "great-weight"

"This is really a lovely horse, I once rode her mother." - Ted Walsh

My only concerns based on French's report are the following:

1. "Hill has long arms and when trying to make a tackle where he doesn't have a great angle, you will often see Hill leap and throw his arms like logs on top of the quarterback's shoulders to drag him down. " I can potentially see some calls of blows to the head if he isn't careful.

2. He needs to put on 20 pounds or more to still be light at the DE position. He is light for a LB right now.

2. He needs to put on 20 pounds or more to still be light at the DE position. He is light for a LB right now.

Your starting senior Defensive End takes issue with that statement. It's not all about weight, though that helps when you're getting pushed around. But if you're fast enough to get around the edge rather than through the OL, you can make up for that.

Weight isn't the end all, be all, you're right, but I think both Wiles and Foster asked Santa for Dadi to gain 15 pounds this offseason.

I'm pretty sure they've asked him to gain weight and play at 240 since his sophomore year. That amount of weight gain for a guy you want to keep fast who is already muscular is a tall task. He's been able to overcome it in most situations though. He struggles facing a quick footed tackle, but has the speed and bend to get around the edge that may be hindered by weight gain.

True, but I still see that Miami game in my nightmares some nights. Sometimes, you just need a bull to anchor the line.

Regarding number 1- Dadi does the same thing. They are very similar in this regard.

Regarding size- he is 6'4 220 and he is growing. He is going to be a 240 pounder easily, and could be bigger. Don't worry about his size.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I saw somewhere recently (I think 247) that he said he is currently at 238. So, I'm not worried about this kid's size or work ethic and I too believe that he will be contributor this fall.

Dude looks like a basketball player in a football jersey. But I agree, French, he looks like he has the frame to put on weight without negative impact.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Did the athletic dept find his gear for that picture in a box from Beamer's introduction as head coach? Looks like this picture was snapped in the 80's.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Yeah, it confused me at first. Is that stuff coming back in style already?

one can only hope

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1) Great write up as always!

2) Is it just me or does the picture of Trevon look like it was taking in the 90's? Everything in that photo looks outdated.

"Welcome to the Terror Dome." -- Corey Moore

Excellent analysis, and agree hill was the best defensive end prospect in the state last year. Anxious to see him on the field and barring injury he will be a dynamic & exciting player .

georgebd

Most ready-to-play DE I can see. Best prospect? Not really much argument about a kid who didn't play at all his senior year vs a consensus top 10 5* prototypical freak. Couple kids from Richmond can argue for prospect too.

I have been wrong before, but we will see which kid ends up being more productive.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I definitely hope it's Hill, and he's got the work ethic to do it. But Sweat and Ferrell do too, with much more impressive measurables. Darrell Taylor's got an outside shot at it, but would be kind of surprised to see him playing much at UT given their DE haul and depth chart.

The consensus top 10 5* prototypical freak suffered a severe knee injury & has not fully recovered & may never be physically 100 % . Would still take Hill, he will accomplish more at VT than Sweat at Felons U.

georgebd

Ha it was the knee injury that made him consensus top 10 rather than consensus next Clowney once-every-five-years without a doubt numero uno. VT's coaches believe in the ranking difference between the two.

I truly do hope Hill accomplishes more at VT than Sweat at FSU, but unless you're going purely by stats, the last few years indicate that's unlikely regardless of their individual talent levels.

False, he was tearing it up early in his Sr Yr. He absolutely played some...4-5 games and in a scrimmage vs Oscar Smith, observers said he stood out more than Sweat

"look at this...this is beautiful, these people are losing their minds" -Mike Patrick

Trevon Hill just updated his weight on his twitter account. Hill checked in at 233 lb today. at the rate he is working out Trevon might be 240-250 by the time he gets to Tech.

He will definitely hit 250 as a playing weight. Maybe not this year but next. In his pictures and photos you can see he has the frame

Any updates on Trevon Hill? I was told by a source who watches SE Va football a lot that Mr. Hill should be a star in Bud's system. Is he healthy and ready for spring ball?

Ready and all set to roll this Spring!!! Many folks believe he was better than Sweat...now let that sink in.

PDXHokie

Who said that?! Not that i don't believe you I'm really curious/excited

Keep calm, Gobble on

French did!

Our motto bringing spirit true, that we may ever serve you

All I need to know! I didn't know if outside sources said that as well

Keep calm, Gobble on

If you just show me film, I would have taken Hill every time. Sweat far exceeded my expectations at FSU. I really hope Hill can be a big time contributor next season.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Sweat far exceeded my expectations at FSU.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

So I totally just clicked on this seeing it up in the thread count and needing something to rest my appetite for football.

I read it was like "I thought Dadi was a senior?" and other points that made me question the article. It wasn't until I went back up and looked at the date on it that I realized it was an old thread. Too early.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

Pardon my ignorance, was he injured or does "healthy" just mean he is looking ready to contribute this year? I wonder if he has been gaining weight at the clip he was when he got to Tech.

RVA Hokie. Class of 2011.

He got injured before last season started.