By JOEL COLEMAN
EUPORA â€“ Two years ago, few could have predicted the scene that occurred at Eupora High School on Wednesday morning.
Bobby Hill, a defensive end for the Eagles, sat in his seat in the EHS library and with his mother and sister by his side, signed his letter of intent to play football at Holmes Community College.
"When he was a 10th grader, he was a little skinny guy that wasn't a very good football player," Eupora head coach Junior Graham said of Hill. "He kind of matured and as a senior, he really came through for us and had a really good year."
Hill's progression resulted in a 2010 season in which he recorded 94 tackles, notched seven sacks and recovered two fumbles for the Eagles.
Those numbers earned Hill the Class 2A, Region 2 Defensive Player of the Year award as well as Class 2A first team All-State honors.
"I play with the attitude that I'm going to get you, regardless of what happens," said Hill. "I don't care how many blockers there are, I'm going to come through and get you. I've got to do what it takes to stop you and help my team."
Hill helped Eupora plenty this past season, playing a large part in the Eagles' 8-4 season that advanced all the way to the second round of the playoffs.
As valuable as Hill was to Eupora, Graham said his star player's impact could have been even greater had the circumstances been different.
"He was a guy that really made us click on defense," said Graham. "He made a lot of big plays either pressuring the quarterback or making it hard to run wide to his side.
"But he played with an injury to his shoulder late in the year because he played on the (offensive line). He played through it though. It hurt Bobby having to play on both sides of the ball. But Bobby's just one of those guys we could count on on a daily and weekly basis."
Hill's grit and determination will now be displayed in Goodman at HCC.
It's the realization of a dream Hill says he has dwelled on for quite some time.
"Ever since I started playing football, I said to myself, 'I'm going to make it, I'm going to play at the college level,'" said Hill. "I just knew I had to do what it took to get there. I proved to myself I could do it last year. I told myself, 'I'm going to get me a scholarship no matter what it takes.' Now, it's a dream come true for me."
While playing at the next level of football was always in Hill's plans, he said it was the middle of last season when he realized it might actually come to fruition.
"I was like, 'Man I'm doing pretty good for myself,'" said Hill. "I didn't know I could get that many tackles and be this quick off the ball. It just made me push myself harder and harder every game."
Graham expects Hill will continue to push himself at Holmes. If the veteran Eupora coach is right, Hill could very well find himself playing football beyond the junior college ranks in the not-too-distant future.
"I think the thing at the next level that everybody looks at is a motor," said Graham. "He's got a motor. There's a lot of things he'll have to get coached up on as far as technique, but I think he'll mature and if he can stay healthy and focused, there will be greener pastures at the end of Holmes Community College."
Hill expects much of the same.
"I'm going to get down there and hit the weight room hard and get bigger and stronger," said Hill. "That way, when I get ready to go to transfer to State or somewhere, I can be playing right off the bat. I won't have sit and wait behind somebody. I can take over somebody's spot."
Aiding Hill's cause is the fact that he can now focus completely on his defensive end position.
"I think the more comfortable he gets, he's just going to get better and better," said Graham.