We continue our Freshman Friday series with a true freshman running back who (in limited reps) has impressed myself as well as many Cowboy fans.
During his junior and senior seasons at Booker T. Washington HS (Tulsa, OK), Justice Hill racked up 3,284 yards and 52 touchdowns. As a senior he averaged a ridiculous 10.27 yards per carry!
The 5-foot-10, 171-pound tailback currently sits as the leading rusher for Oklahoma State.
Here are his numbers so far:
- SLU - seven carries | 30 yards | 4.29 avg
- CMU - five carries | 31 yards | 6.20 avg
I know it’s small sample size. But passes the eye test, at least for now.
Let me take you back to a time on Saturday before your psyche was fractured.
On this play there was actually a hole for Hill to initially run through but he also made the most of what he was given.
Can’t say I disagree with our friend from ESPN.
Pokes have been too cute rotating 4-5 RBs. Would like to see them give Justice Hill more of a shot. He's made things happen.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 10, 2016
Hill has real speed and he has the ability to make defender’s miss. Plus, as a true freshman, he may have the most upside in the group. He definitely did enough in fall camp to stay what seemed like a likely redshirt recommendation from the coaching staff.
Here’s what Mason Rudolph had to say about Justice Hill in this week’s press conference.
"He's a great athlete. The first time I saw him, it was one of those 'wow' moments. He's just a really athletic guy and a really nice guy. He's a calm and confident dude. He did a great job of absorbing information and putting it to use in camp. I'm really excited about his development."
Hill figures to be the all-purpose back moving forward. As a true freshman, he’s played his way into more carries than senior-transfer Barry J. Sanders, senior Rennie Childs and sophomore Jeff Carr, tying senior Chris Carson with twelve.
Carson, last year’s starter, averaged 3.64 yards per carry in his first two games in 2015. Hill currently sits at an average of 5.08 yards per carry.
Of course the Cowboys weren’t spreading the carries around like they have been so far this year. Carson had 36 carries in two games to Hill’s twelve. Let’s also not forget that Hill only has 61 yards in those two games. That may be more of an indictment on the offensive line and the coaching staff’s admitted abandonment of the run game than Hill, however.
I think Justice Hill has earned the right to increased carries and should be given a chance to get into a rhythm, maybe to the tune of 12-15 plus per game.
We’ll find out more this weekend as the Cowboys will to keep up in a time-of-possession battle while hosting Pitt’s run-heavy offense.