It's been called âThe World's Toughest Job Interview.â For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 22 â Feb. 28), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, more than two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition and Vision training withAthletic & Personal Development program specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches through theIMG Academy football program.
In recent years, Georgia Tech has developed a reputation for producing elite NFL receivers who are monstrous in size. Calvin Johnson (6-5, 236). Demaryius Thomas (6-3, 236). And now Stephen Hill (6-5, 206). Hill recently took time to discuss comparisons to "Megatron", winning an Olympic medal and how his love for football brings him to tears.
Stephen Hill on...
...his track and field pedigree: I broke the Georgia state record in the long jump. I just saw a commercial the other day with Christian Taylor (NCAA champion), whose record I broke.I tried to run my freshman year of college, but I had gained a lot of weight for football and put it to the side. I definitely think I could have won a gold medal in the Olympics.
...his favorite actor (and likeness): Mostly everything that Chris Tucker played in, I can probably quote. "Friday" is definitely my favorite, but "Money Talks" is right around the corner.
...addressing his doubters: I've gotten backlash since middle school. I was a national track champion at 10 years old, then experienced a lot of growth pains. People said I'd never be fast again. In high school when I really grew and I chose Georgia Tech over Georgia, people said, âYou better bring your blocking gloves, because you aren't going to catch any balls there.â Even now, people will say I dropped too many balls. It doesn't matter. I know what I'm capable of producing.
...love for the game: The big plays were great, but I like blocking and helping the team. As a wide receiver, you're going to be selfish. You always want the ball. But being able to help the team where I can is what I love. I get emotional when I'm playing. I love it that much. I won't lie, I'll cry before a game, so I'll walk away from everyone and find some privacy.
...training with other receivers (Mohamed Sanu, Gerrell Robinson, Eric Page) at IMG Academy: We're all together, but mostly I'm with Mo. He stays in my ear to make sure I'm doing the right thing. Coming from my offense, I didn't have a route tree like he had, so we work on that. They all tell me that if I were in any of their offenses, I'd be a top receiver. I just smile and take advantage of my opportunities.
...comparisons to Calvin Johnson: It makes me feel good to be compared to one of the greatest, because he really is great. At the same time, I'm trying to make my own name. I worked out with him once. He showed me some things about getting off the line, coming out of your breaks and some other stuff. Most of his advice was that you just have to catch everything, no matter where the ball is.
Favorite wide receiver ever: Randy Moss
Most embarrassing sports moment: During a qualifying heat at the state track meet,I fell and rolled about 30 meters. Somehow I recovered and made it through that qualifier then went on and won the event.
One skill he wishes he had: I'd like to be able to play golf. I feel like they are the world's top athletes.
Best competitor he's played against: Chase Minnifield of Virginia. He studied me better than anyone else did last y ear.
Biggest trash talker: Andre Branch of Clemson. He's cool. I have nothing against him, but he talks a lot.