Hill calls a reversePublished 10:47pm Thursday, June 27, 2013
After two years of wrestling with his dreams of playing college football Marquin Hill finally submitted and will look to pin down quarterbacks this year as a defensive tackle at UNC-Pembroke this fall.
Hill, who graduated Washington High School in 2010 as a Washington Daily News All-Area first-team defensive tackle and a two-time state champion wrestler, accepted a scholarship to wrestle for Pembroke but grappled with the thought of playing both sports for the Div. II Braves.
While Hill feels like he is a better wrestler than he is a football player, the rising junior could not shed the grasp of the sport he loves.
“I can honestly say that football was always my favorite sport, but I just felt like I was a better wrestler than I was a football player,” Hill said Wednesday while serving as an instructor at the Washington Wrestling Camp. “I really wanted to do both. I missed football. It’s the very first sport I ever played.”
Ideally, Hill would love to play both sports but that arrangement is something that must be cleared by Pembroke wrestling coach Othello Johnson, who would like to see Hill focus year-round on wrestling.
“He wasn’t too happy about it,” Hill said. “I think it’s something we have to work out. I do want to wrestle and play football.”
Hill said if he is forced to pick one or the other that he will side with his heart and the gridiron.
“I would rather do something I love more than just doing something I’m better at,” Hill said.
Hill redshirted his freshman year at UNCP but wrestled 12 times as an “unattached wrestler” and finished with a 4-8 record. It was the first time Hill struggled as a wrestler and he said it served as a wakeup call going into his sophomore year.
“I went 4-8 and it was terrible. In high school I did wrestling, football and track so wrestling wasn’t my main focus,” Hill said. “I thought I could do the same thing in college and I came to find out you can’t do that. In college if you play a sport you have to focus on the sport. For me, to just do wrestling during the season and not commit to the offseason … it showed.”
Hill would not make the same mistake his second time around.
“Going into my sophomore year I stayed at school during the summer and worked on my wrestling and became more dedicated and I ended up going 20-something and seven. That’s a big turn around. … It’s a job. In high school we say it’s a job but in college it’s really a job.”
Though Hill graduated Washington second on the Pam Pack’s all-time wins list with a record of 168-26, he wasn’t too bad at football either, as he was a force in the backfield as a fullback and forced his way into opposing team’s backfield’s as a defensive lineman.
After taking two years off, Hill made his return to football in grand style and had a strong showing during the school’s spring game.
“I played in the spring game and had two sacks. I felt pretty good,” Hill said. “As of right now, going into this year I’ve made the rotation.”
Hand play and footwork is critical for a defensive lineman and Hill credited his wrestling background for helping him excel on the football field.
“Wrestling helps out a lot,” Hill said. “On the offensive and defensive line it’s all about hands. So when I got back on the football field I really didn’t lose anything.”
Hill said his football coaches have liked what they’ve seen so far.
“They liked my work ethic and strength. I have the most reps on the team, I benched 225 (pounds) 31 times,” Hill said. “They liked the way I was able to come off the ball. But, what I need to work on is going to another move if my first move doesn’t work.”
Going into the football season Hill said his goal is to make the most of his playing time. As far as wrestling goes, if he hits the matt this season Hill said his aim is to do what he has always done: win.
“For football, I just want to get in there and make plays,” Hill said. “(As a wrestler) I just want to win. Winning is the only thing for me. If you’re doing something on the collegiate level it’s not about just having fun. You’re doing it to be good at it and win.”