Catching Up with Justin Hilliard

By 11W Staff on July 9, 2013 at 4:00p

This week Eleven Warriors is going to take a look at another top prospect in the 2015 recruiting class who the Buckeyes have serious interest in joining the 2015 class which should be a very big one as scholarship restrictions are set to expire after this year.

Hilliard might be Ohio's best in 2015


Last week we caught up with Dowell twins of Lakewood (OH) St. Edward. This week we are going to take a look at Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier linebacker Justin Hilliard who has been ranked as Ohio's top junior by 24/7 Sports, the only recruiting website with 2015 rankings out to this date.

The 6-2/225 linebacker has just begun taking serious look at prospective colleges this summer and was able to take in a lot of different college campuses.

"I'm just trying to get as many visits in as possible in order to evaluate the offers I've received," he said. "I think I'm done with camping and am ready to take a closer look at schools who have offered me."

Hilliard got the chance to visit and camp at many top schools across the Midwest this summer.

"I went to Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame," he continued. "I thought all of the visits and camps went really well."

The Ohio State camp went particularly well as he performed well enough to earn a scholarship offer from Urban Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff, which is one of the biggest offers he hold to this date.

"I went up to Ohio State to camp. I didn't really get to see the campus while I was in Columbus," he told Eleven Warriors. "The camp went really well, they offered me afterwards."

He had the chance to work with Mike Vrabel and Urban Meyer during the camp and he was able to talk to both of them privately while he was at the camp.

"Coach Vrabel told me I was performing real well. He said I could be a great player for the Ohio State defense if I decide to go there," he continued. "Coach Meyer was the one who offered me. He told me I was good enough to play for Ohio State and that he really wants me to be a part of this class."



As you can imagine, receiving an offer from a top in-state school, which in this case is Ohio State, means a lot to a recruit. 

"It really means a lot," he said. "They've always been one of the top school in the country and will contend for championships every year."

The junior linebacker talks to the Ohio State coaching staff on the phone pretty frequently as he tries to develop solid relationships with the men that could coach him at the college level if he decides to stay in-state.

"We talk pretty often. I talk to Coach Meyer once a week," he continued. "I also talk to Coach Coombs and Coach Vrabel pretty often."

While Hilliard and the Buckeye coaches are still in the process of developing a solid relationship, they are definitely getting to know each other pretty well, which could bode well for the Scarlet & Gray when his recruitment comes to a close.

Hilliard is one of Ohio State's top targets 

"When we talk, we don't just talk about football," he continued. "We talk about a lot of things ranging from football to just life itself."

Another school that caught Hilliard's eye was Notre Dame. He visited South Bend last month and came away impressed with what Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish had to offer.

"It went really good. I met a lot of good guys on the visit," he said. "I got to see the whole campus, the facilities and everything. I also got to spend some time with the coaches."

Hilliard also went up to check out the top two schools in his home state of Michigan, where he lived until he moved to Ohio when he was seven years old.

"Michigan was really only a camp. I didn't really get to see their campus," he told Eleven Warriors. "I'm going back up there later this month for the BBQ which I think is on July 21st."

"Michigan State was more of a visit," he said. "It went really well. I got to see the campus and talk to the coaches."

The St. Xavier star learned a lot at all of the football camps he has attended to this point.

"I learned a lot coverage wise," he said. "I got a lot better at sticking with wide receivers. I also had the chance to put in some work with the cornerbacks."

While Hilliard has lived in Ohio for the vast majority of his football career, he didn't grow up rooting for the Buckeyes, in fact, he didn't root for any team growing up.

"I was born in Michigan and moved to Ohio when I was seven, so I never really rooted for any particular team growing up."

It's still very early in the process for the standout linebacker thus he hasn't narrowed his list of prospective schools just yet.

"I don't really have any favorites right now, there are a bunch of different schools in the running," he continued. "I'll probably trim my list during my football season."

While it still is very early in the process, Hilliard has an idea of when he would like to make his college decision.

"Sometime after my football season," he said. "I'll definitely be committed somewhere by this time next year."

There are also multiple factors that go into his decision when he sits down with those close to him after his football season to move towards a decision.

"I just have to fit in and feel comfortable with the school," he continued. "Academics and ability to win a championship will also be important factors in my decision."

Hilliard is planning on visiting Texas A&M and a couple of other schools during the fall. He will also likely be up to Columbus to take in a Buckeye game or two.

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