Valley grad Hill recovers strongly from injury at Ohio
Ohio redshirt junior tight end Troy Hill has recovered from his most frustrating year of college football to produce his most satisfying season.
After undergoing surgery on his left ACL and sitting out the 2011 season, Hill has climbed to new heights.
A 2009 Valley graduate, Hill has a career-high 14 catches for 169 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games for the Bobcats (8-2, 4-2), who compete in the NCAA Division I FBS Mid-American Conference.
However, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Hill won't soon forget those months of rehabilitation and being sidelined for an entire season.
“It was tough,” Hill said. “I was playing a lot my freshman year, and I was really looking forward to the (2011) season coming up. We had a new offense, and everybody was excited about that. I fought through it with support from my family, faith in God, coaches and friends.”
In 2010, Hill broke into the Ohio lineup and recorded three catches for 24 yards, including a 1-yard reception against Troy in a 48-21 loss in the New Orleans Bowl.
He looked forward to a more productive 2011 campaign, but those plans were scuttled by the ACL injury he suffered in preseason camp.
After Hill rebounded physically and was able to run again, he still faced the mental challenges of a serious injury.
“In the summertime, I started second-guessing myself,” Hill said. “I wasn't confident. Eventually, I got comfortable. I wanted to come out and help the team.”
In a season-opening 24-14 victory over Penn State, Hill started and made one catch for 5 yards.
For Hill, that game was a major turning point.
“I feel like I was ready,” Hill said. “Everybody was comfortable after getting through the Penn State game. I was ready to do my part, no matter if it was receiving or blocking or whatever.”
Ohio started 7-0 before losing two of its past three games. The Bobcats have two games left. They visit Ball State (7-3, 4-2) at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Kent State (8-1, 5-0) on Nov. 23.
Ohio still could earn a bowl bid.
“We've incorporated some new things,” Hill said. “I try to do what I have to for the team. I have to block, catches passes, be versatile, whatever the scenario is.”
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-224-2696.