- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Coming off a first-round playoff win on Friday night, ESPN 300 offensive lineman Grant Hill (Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville) was hoping Alabama would have the same result in their game on Saturday, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Crimson Tide lost their first game of the season to Texas A&M, diminishing their chance at another national championship. Still, despite the outcome, Hill and his family enjoyed their visit back to Tuscaloosa for the game.
“It was good,” he said. “I enjoyed it. I got to talk to the coaches, and I just took in the atmosphere and everything. Obviously, the game didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to because we lost, but as far as enjoying my visit, I enjoyed it.”
After the game, Hill met with Tide coach Nick Saban, and he came away impressed with how Saban handled the loss.
“Obviously, he wasn’t happy, but he didn’t take it like it was the end of the world,” Hill said. “That shows good character by him. It’s not the end of the world if you lose a football game. It’s all about personal improvement.”
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive lineman was one of close to a dozen Alabama commitments who visited during the weekend. It gave them all a chance to catch up and get to know each other better before they eventually play together.
“Forming a bond with those guys early is probably best because I’m going to playing with them for the next four years, or five years in some cases, Hill said. “It was just good to go down there, talk to some of the recruits and get to know them a little bit.”
Since returning home from his visit, Hill has turned his focus back to Huntsville High School and his senior season.
Although he sprained his ankle in the regular season finale, Hill played through the injury in the first game of the playoffs and helped lead Huntsville to a 37-19 victory over Florence. The Panthers rushed for 476 yards in the game.
“I definitely felt it towards the end,” Hill said. “My coach took me out with like five minutes left when it didn’t really matter. I played pretty much the whole game. I had a good game. Towards the end, I wasn’t doing too good, but I did the best I could.”
Hill will test the ankle again this Friday as Huntsville hosts Vestavia Hills in the second round of the playoffs.
7dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough