It is not often a four-star, blue-chip, recruited-by-the-world type of running back only carries the ball 100 times during a season. But George Hill of Hubbard (Ohio) High had exactly 100 as a junior. The reason? He shared the backfield with senior blue-chip prospect LJ Scott.
Hill still managed to average nearly 12 yards a carry that season, rushing for 1,175 yards and 15 touchdowns and earning scholarship offers from many top programs.
This season, with Scott off at Michigan State earning freshman All-Big Ten honors and scoring the winning touchdown in the conference title game, Hill saw an expanded role, a more versatile one that should help him in college, especially if he ends up sharing a huddle with Scott again. And that's a distinct possibility as the Spartans are the expected choice when he announces his commitment on Friday night.
"He had a really good year, offensively and defensively," Scout Ohio analyst Bill Greene said. "He was more versatile this year. He played lot of defense this year and played well. They played him a lot in the slot. They were a power running team the year before with him and LJ, but they didn't do that this year, so they moved him around and he threw him the ball and he caught it well. He had a really good year."
Hill did prove that, when asked to, he could run the ball between the tackles, as well. His strengths, however, are his speed and pass-catching ability. Those skills would fit well in a Michigan State offense that uses R.J. Shelton in many of the same ways Hill was used at Hubbard.
That also would make him a perfect complement to Scott once again.
"I think George could be a redshirt guy," Greene said. "It wouldn't surprise me to see him redshirt a year and get a little stronger. And even if he did play as a freshman, he would be a specialty guy who gets a handful of carries, not a 20-carry a game hammer like LJ. He's not that kind of player; he's a hit-the-edge guy."
Sharing the ball with a former teammate would sit just fine with Hill.
"They're great friends, really, really good friends," Greene said of Hill and Scott. "George really looks up to LJ and I think would really look forward to playing with him once again."
Friday night at 7 p.m., Spartan Nation will find out if that is the case.
Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and West Virginia are his other choices. Hill most recently visited Pittsburgh. He took an official visit with the Panthers last weekend.
Busy week for 2017 quarterbacks
Michigan State is recruiting the state of Georgia hard in the 2017 class, particularly at the quarterback position, where the Spartans have offers out to three of the state's best at the position.
Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern's Bailey Hockman decommitted from Georgia this week and immediately heard from the Spartan staff. With Chase Brice committing to Clemson several days later, the Spartans are left with Hockman and Greater Atlanta Christian's Davis Mills atop their board.
Hockman was also offered by Michigan this week. He has not been north to visit either school, but an offseason trip up to the Great Lakes State remains a possibility.
Spartans add in-state walk-on
Zeeland East senior wide receiver Khylin Barton accepted a preferred walk-on at Michigan State this week. An athletic 6-foot-3 target who is also currently playing basketball for the Chix, Barton caught 61 passes for 1,078 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, earning all-state honors in the process.
Michigan State has had good success with walk-ons through the years with notables including Blair White and Kyler Elsworth.
Barton, who visited for games during the season and quickly accepted the opportunity when it was presented, says he grew up a Michigan State fan.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.