NCAA grants waiver to UO’s Hill;Football Oregon;Freshman defensiveback will join Ducks for practice

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

Defensive back Troy Hill has been cleared to join the Oregon

football team by the

NCAA after being approved for a

waiver that became necessary when the Ducks discovered he attended

high school for five years.

Under an

NCAA rule enacted in 2007, incoming

student-athletes are required to complete 16 core courses to gain

admission and must do soin four years. Hill used five years,

repeating his freshman year of high school after transferring from

Chaney High in Youngstown, Ohio, to St. Bonaventure High in

Ventura, Calif., in 2006-07.

Hill moved west to live with an uncle and escape from a rough

neighborhood in Ohio. Those circumstances were considered by the

NCAA as part of the waiver request

by the UO athletic department, according to initial eligibility

coordinator Leanne Brooks.

The

NCAA also took into account the fact

that Hill’s transfer tookplace before the rule was enacted in 2007.

St. Bonaventure forfeitedits 11 wins from last fall because Hill’s

athletic eligibility window should have been closed, but that

doesn’t appear to have been a consideration for the

NCAA, Brooks said.

“It was more personal circumstances, as well as his having done

this prior to the rule being instated,” Brooks said.

Hill will arrive in Eugene on Saturday and likely join practices

Monday, UO coach Chip Kelly said.

Hill, 5-feet-11 and 165 pounds, was an all-league defender for a

St. Bonaventure team that went 11-2 in 2009, though it eventually

forfeited those victories and a league title. He was a three-star

recruitaccording to both Rivals.com and Scout.com.

His size and speed – a reported time of 4.5 seconds in the

40-yarddash – fit the profile of a cornerback for the Ducks, but

Kelly saidcoaches will determine whether Hill plays corner or

safety after watching him practice.

“Until we run him around, I don’t know what he is,” Kelly said.

“He’s a defensive back, but is he a safety, is he a corner? How

fast ishe actually in person? He’s a real smart kid, a real

versatile kid -that’s what we liked about him in recruiting. I

think he could play both positions, but we don’t know.”

Kelly also wouldn’t commit to a defined role for Hill this fall,

given his late arrival.

“Haven’t seen him, so I have no idea,” Kelly said. “Cliff Harris

came late (last fall), ended up playing for us. Other guys came

late, they didn’t.”

Harris’ arrival last fall was delayed while the

NCAA Clearinghousereviewed his

academic standing, a relatively standard proceeding. Hill’s case

was more complex, making Thursday’s news a welcome development.

“I’m happy that it got straightened out,” Kelly said. “But I’ve

always taken the mind that, we don’t have any control over it. So

if they say he can come, he can come. If he can’t come, we’ll make

alternative plans.”

Hill began his high school career in 2005 in his hometown of

Youngstown, Ohio. He moved to Oxnard, Calif., in January of 2007,

under the guardianship of his uncle, Jim Gilmer, who was also

raised in Youngstown.

“Troy had slipped through the cracks,” Gilmer told the Ventura

County (Calif.) Star newspaper. “He was on a lost island. He wasn’t

going to survive in Youngstown. I don’t think he would have lasted

another six months.”

Gilmer has a daughter enrolled at St. Bonaventure, and Hill

applied there under a “hardship and emergency” designation, the

Ventura paper reported. A transcript provided by Chaney’s

administration during the transfer process noted that Hill was a

freshman but didn’t specify that he was a second-year freshman

because of poor grades in 2005-06.

The error was discovered by Oregon administration in early

February, after the Ducks received a letter of intent from Hill and

began finalizing a review of his academic records. St. Bonaventure

administrators were crestfallen.

“He is a success story of this school,” principal Marc Goff told

the Ventura County Star. “An inner-city kid who comes out of a

different environment, makes good grades and becomes the best that

he can be.”

As of Thursday, however, Hill’s story appears to have a happy

ending.

“I like him as a kid,” Kelly said. “He’s very conscientious, did

everything he was supposed to do. Was great in the whole recruiting

process. And then we just had to wait.”

Hill’s enrollment would make the Ducks 23-for-23 in bringing the

2010 recruiting class to campus, assuming Isaac Dixon enrolls in

January as planned after recovering from a knee injury. That’s a

rare perfect score for a recruiting class, and something for Kelly

to hang hishat on.

“I never thought about it like that,” Kelly said. “But I guess

so,sure.”

UO RECRUITING WITH MATT PREHM

Latest developments: Oregon lands verbal commitment from

linebacker Kyrie Wilson. … Two recruits set for official visits

this week cancel and commit to Notre Dame.

Analysis: Oregon hosted Wilson, a linebacker from Bakersfield,

Calif., two weeks ago, and he confirmed his verbal commitment to

the Ducks this week. Wilson is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker who

has flown under the radar, with his only other offers coming from

Fresno State and Washington State. He looks like a classic Oregon

recruit who simply was overlooked. Josh and George Atkinson were

set to visit Oregon this weekend, but after a visit to Notre Dame

the twin brothers – both high-level recruits – canceled and

committed to the Irish. It wasa surprise, but one that won’t hurt

Oregon’s 2011 class.

On the horizon: Anthony Wallace of Skyline High School in

Dallas, Texas, has set up an official visit to Oregon for Saturday.

Analysis:Wallace sports offers from over 25

colleges, with Oklahoma, Texas,

Miami, Ohio State and USC in the crowded field along with Oregon.

Wallace is one of the few recruits from Texas to put the in-state

Longhorns on hold in the recruiting process and still keep his

offer. Getting Wallace for a visit alone is a big step for Chip

Kelly and his program. Expect the list of official visitors to grow

by the time Saturday rolls around.

– Matt Prehm, co-publisher, DuckTerritory.com