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SIGNING DAY SURPRISE: Daxton Hill Signs With Michigan Wolverines Football

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Michigan received a five-star Signing Day surprise when Daxton Hill flipped back to U-M from Alabama.

Hill, the younger brother of Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, pledged to Michigan Sept. 18 after visiting for the SMU game. He de-committed Dec. 8, catching everyone off guard.

He stayed quiet from there, adding zero context to his decision publicly.

“I would like to thank the University of Michigan for their love and support throughout this time recruiting me,” Hill tweeted. “Thank you to all the coaches at Michigan that took their time to come see me play or reached out to make sure everything was well with my family and I. This was a tough decision for me and my family but I have decided to de-commit from the University of Michigan and flip my commitment to the University of Alabama.”

He obviously had a change of heart.

Hill is expected to play immediately next year. U-M loses senior Tyree Kinnel next season … junior Josh Metellus is flirting with the NFL Draft but expected to return.

There had been rumblings after head coach Jim Harbaugh went in-home with him last week that this might happen. It picked up steam later in the week, and now it’s official.

SoonerScoop.com’s Josh McCuiston said in September he hadn’t seen many as good as Hill.

“He just has prodigious athleticism,” McCuistion said of Hill. “I think anyone can see the testing numbers and put together that he isn’t usual, but when you watch him up close and see how he closes on ball carriers or covers man-to-man on elite receivers you realize he just isn’t your average safety. When you throw in that he is 6-2, 200-pounds, it just becomes an abundance of talent that few safeties, in any year, can match up with.

“But the thing that goes overlooked for him — he is a very, very savvy guy. You talk to him or talk to his coaches and they talk about how quickly he processes information.”

There was one event in particular that caught his eye.

“I think for me it was when we were at the Dallas Nike camp and he was working in man coverage during the one-on-ones,” McCuistion recalled. “I can’t remember the receiver he was facing, but it was a guy with numerous offers, a well regarded receiver and Hill stuck to his inside hip and on a short curl, broke on the ball and actually got his hand in to deflect it. It seems so simple but for a guy his size, a safety, to make that play, it was jaw dropping.”

Hill is the No. 1 safety and No. 24 overall prospect nationally for a reason.

“There isn’t one [weakness] that I find glaring,” McCuistion said. “I think sometimes he’ll rely on his speed a little too much and usually it’s fine, but you’ve got to wonder if leaning on that too often could hurt him at some point. Again, it’s nitpicking because I think the world of his skills.”

Hill was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma as a senior, notching 93 tackles including nine tackle for loss, one sack, two interceptions, nine pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also caught 13 passes for 360 yards and seven touchdowns senior year and had a a 55-yard rushing score.

“From a football standpoint, there are reasons to make the comparison to recent Wolverine Jabrill Peppers,” Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Josh Helmholdt said. “Like Peppers, Hill has elite playmaking skills from not just the defensive back position, but also in the return game and he can do some things offensively. He brings great size and speed to the safety position. He covers like a cornerback and hits like a linebacker.

“What makes Hill truly stand out, though, is the football IQ he brings to the game. When I went out and saw his Booker T. Washington team play this past season Hill was always around the football, and when his team needed a big play he delivered with a 50-yard jet sweep and a pick-six on successive drives.”

Hill is Michigan’s lone five-star recruit from the 2019 class.

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