Daxton Hill is the projected gem of Michigan Football’s 2019 recruiting class, as the five-star safety is expected to have an impact in Ann Arbor as early as this season. Michigan safeties/special teams coach Chris Partridge has already seen flashes of brilliance during fall camp and heading into the season opener on Saturday.
“He can run, he can tackle, he’s a great young man, he’s got a great work ethic,” Partridge said. “He’s as advertised. We’re very excited about him.
“He’s a really good cover guy. That’s where he’s excelled, I’d say. But he’s gonna be an all-around great player. He’s really good. He knows the game, he’s knowledgeable, he’s smart, he cares and he’s got a strong work ethic.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh earlier this week said that his skill-set is “as advertised,” but despite the hype we may have to pump the brakes a bit on his early impact. Partridge told the media on Wednesday afternoon that Hill is probably the fourth or fifth safety on the depth chart right now.
That is not a knock on his game or to say he is a disappointment, but it speaks to how they feel about Josh Metellus, Brad Hawkins and J’Marick Woods on the back end of the defense. He still will have a role, but he has not quite been where Partridge and the Wolverines want to see just yet, but their expectations remain high.
“He’s not (where I want him to be yet), no. That’s kind of impossible,” Partridge said. “I’m gonna want him to be an All-American! Maybe (he will this season), who knows? He’s really above and beyond what you would really say is his learning curve. He’s doing a really good job in terms of taking it on and learning the defense. From a safety spot, it’s not that easy. You have a lot going on back there. He’s above and beyond that. Athletically, he’s phenomenal. It’s what you want. He’s explosive in his ability to run. His ability to track the ball is really good.”
The thing that stands out the most about Hill’s skill-set is his pure speed and athleticism. Partridge said he is the fastest at the position and in the mix for the fastest guys Michigan has on the team, period.
“He’s the fastest guy at safety,” Partridge said. “He’s probably one of the fastest guys on the team. I think Giles Jackson, Ambry Thomas, DJ Turner would be up there. We’ve got some guys that can motor, but he’d be one of them for sure.”
At this level of college football, one can only get by so much on pure athleticism, which Hill has an abundance of. He did not show up on campus until fall camp, so he likely will be eased into the rotation while also playing a big role on special teams.
We are going to see Hill a decent amount this year and if his trajectory continues, he may be one of the breakout candidates of the latter part of the season.