Maryland corner Alvin Hill didn’t participate in Saturday’s scrimmage and has been wearing a yellow jersey since last week. The color is a result of what he calls a “camp body” that has been dinged up over the past couple of weeks.
“But it’s nothing major,” Hill said before leaving the practice field Monday morning. He’s projected to be one of the team’s most relied on defensive players this fall, a player who has worked himself from special teams contributor to reserve corner to the top of the depth chart.
Motivational speaker Jon Gordon visited the team last week and spoke about contributing “your one percent,” Hill said Monday. The visit left an impression on the junior corner, who later wrote down that he would contribute one percent more to each of his teammates than before. It is a new motivational mindset for Hill. “[Gordon] had me engaged. That stuck with me,” Hill said.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Hill was thrust into action last year as a result of a depleted secondary, and on the boundary of nickel packages he was productive. His most complete game came against Marshall in the Military Bowl (four tackles and a pass breakup) and he segued into an offseason in which he’s established himself as one the team’s primary corners alongside sophomore Will Likely and senior Jeremiah Johnson.
Johnson, who was out for much of last season with a toe and hamstring injury, has been pushing Hill during camp. He was listed behind Likely and Hill on the depth chart entering the preseason, although Edsall has said that he views all three players as starters. “It’s just a mutual understanding, a mentality between us. [Johnson] is a great mentor,” Hill said.
The yellow jersey hasn’t stopped Hill from mixing it up in the last week of camp, either. He flew around the defensive backfield for much of last week and picked off C.J. Brown on consecutive days during 11-on-11 drills, including on a long pass Friday.
He broke up another deep ball that morning, earning praise from Likely, who called Hill “a sleeper.”
“Will’s good too,” Hill said. “I’m one of the guys. They’re comfortable with me…that makes me feel good. That’s for my confidence.”