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.
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.
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
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
“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
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