Another athlete in the mix for the class of 2022. It seems to be a trend for Florida State head coach Mike Norvell and his staff when they are scouting running backs. FSU has brought in multiple athletes and converted them into the running back/tail back role. FSU likes to be able to put these athletes in the slot or in the backfield so it makes sense.
The latest commitment to join the class of ‘22 is Rodney Hill, who checks in at 6’ and 186 pounds, out of Bulloch Academy in Georgia. Hill is listed as an athlete by 247sports but projects to be a tailback at FSU. The tailback in the FSU offense is used in the slot and in the backfield. So what does Hill truly bring to the table as a player? Lets take a look.
Versatile is a word used so often these days that you forget what it even means. I’m not going to give you a formal definition but Hill’s versatility stems from his ability to lineup in multiple locations on the field and be effective. He can play wide receiver (which you’ll see in the clip below) and catch the ball effectively and he can lineup in the backfield and be dynamic. When you are projecting players to positions you like to be able to see them play it. It’s good for FSU to be able to evaluate tape of Hill out wide and in the backfield.
You see Hill catch the ball smoothly throughout his tape and on the play that follows. These hands will play well at FSU, who likes to utilize the running backs on screens and check downs. Hill also shows the ability to catch the ball in coverage, catch quick tunnel screens, and run routes. All of these fit the tailback role in the FSU offense and Hill should fit in nicely.
Balance and Patience
Running the football in a zone scheme (FSU is not just a zone team) requires a level of patience. Being a good running back in general requires the same level of patience. A running back must also possess balance to be effective (think Dalvin Cook). Hill displays both of these traits in the following clip. Running what is somewhat of a staple play for FSU, counter trey (FSU runs a different variation), you see Hill be patient into the hole, have the balance and jump cut ability to get in and out of the hole then explosiveness to finish. Balance is one of the most important things for me when evaluating a running back. I like to see Hill be within his body at all times when in the hole, jump over an arm tackle and not fall down, all while accelerating.
Seeing the field and progression of a running play is crucial for running back prospects. Hill puts his vision on display in the following clip. It may be subtle but I think it’s a good sign that he can set his blocks and moves up. Looks like a zone run play (maybe power), Hill gets on his track into B-gap, presses the hole and then cuts at the last second off of the wrapping guard. Hill set the guards block up for him by pressing inside more and then jumping back outside at the last second. Once Hill is through the hole he can accelerate to the end zone. Setting that block up is why he was able to score in the end and is good to be able to evaluate.