Notre Dame football recruiting: Hill’s big year nets ND offer

South Bend Tribune

Kolin Hill put little stock into the few pieces of recruiting mail he received from Notre Dame in the past.

Not many major college football programs had shown genuine interest in the prospect from Schertz, Texas. So when Hill learned of his scholarship offer from Notre Dame last Thursday, he was definitely caught off guard.

“When they told me they were going to offer me, it was quite a surprise,” Hill said.

The 6-foot-2, 222-pound prospect received word of the offer from his head coach at Samuel Clemens High. On Sunday, Hill spent time speaking with cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks, who recruits the Lone Star State for the Irish. From that conversation birthed the beginning of plans for a visit on December 13.

Hill and the Notre Dame staff will have some catching up to do late in the 2014 recruiting cycle, but a couple months before February’s signing day should be enough time for the under-the-radar recruit to weigh a new option. Hill’s other biggest offers to date have come from Boise State and Colorado.

An impressive senior season, in which he said he totaled 15 sacks and more than 100 tackles playing defensive end, caught the eye of the Notre Dame staff. Now he’s ready to see what the Irish have to offer.

“I still have a lot to learn, but I know they have a rich tradition,” Hill said.

October’s Shamrock Series game in Arlington counts as another positive in the eyes of Hill.

“That definitely caught my eye,” Hill said. “I'd definitely love to play a game in Texas if I went there.”

Hill fits the prototypical linebacker profile defensive coordinator Bob Diaco frequently targets. Hill has shown the ability to rush the quarterback on the edge in high school, but could also project as an inside linebacker with a 4.51 time in the 40-yard dash and a bench press of 315 pounds.

“They said I fit their defense well,” Hill said. “I'm good at getting to the quarterback and coming from the back side in pursuit.”

With the new interest from Notre Dame, a busy December has started to develop for Hill. He plans to visit Colorado on an official visit on Dec. 7 and may be forced to reschedule a planned visit to Boise State if he takes the trip to South Bend the following Friday.

Colorado and Boise State also have extended an offer to Hill’s twin brother, Kaleb, a slightly smaller prospect that played defensive end on the other side of the field at Clemens. Kolin said the chance to play with his twin in college won’t play a major role in his eventual decision.

Notre Dame’s interest in Hill could lead to more programs taking a look at the unheralded prospect. rates Hill as a two-star prospect, and 247Sports didn’t even rate Hill in its latest rankings.

CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming thinks schools might be missing out on Hill’s potential after his senior season

“I think he's going to be one of the big surprises,” Lemming said. “In January, we're going to do 10 sleepers to keep an eye on and I think he's going to be one of them. He's coming on strong and had one heck of a year. He could be the guy, like an A.J. Hawk, that people don't mention much out of high school, but he's a thumper and has had a lot of production. I think he's a big-time guy."

Watch highlights of Kolin Hill here.

Bye week offers

The Irish coaching staff kept busy on the recruiting trail without a game last week.

Linebacker Nile Sykes, defensive end Jhonny Williams and athlete Charles Nelson, all 2014 prospects, reported offers from Notre Dame.

Sykes, a 6-2, 230-pound recruit from Montini Catholic in Oak Park, Ill., rates as a three-star prospect. Rivals ranks him as the No. 24 inside linebacker, while 247Sports slates him as the No. 34 outside linebacker. He holds offers from the likes of Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa State, Missouri and Syracuse.

Williams, a 6-6, 230-pound recruit from Berrien Springs (Mich.) High, currently holds a verbal commitment with Missouri. The three-star prospect has been slated as the No. 36 strongside defensive end by 247Sports.

Nelson, a 5-9, 170-pound recruit from Seabreeze High in Daytona Beach, Fla., rates as a three-star prospect. 247Sports has him as the No. 35 athlete in the 2014 class. A specialist in kick and punt returns, Nelson has received offers from Florida and USC this month.

Scott Patchan, a 2015 prospect from Tampa, Fla., also reported an offer from Notre Dame. The 6-5, 225-pound defensive end at Freedom High boasts more than 10 offers from programs including Clemson, Miami, Ohio State and Tennessee.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly extended an offer to punter Tyler Newsome after watching him kick on campus Thursday.