- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
If not for Grant Hill's family, Hunstville High coach Scott Sharp may have been the happiest man in Alabama when his 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive lineman committed to the Crimson Tide on Monday.
TideNation caught up with Sharp to ask the third-year head coach what his star player is like, both on and off the field.
TN: How’s it feel as a coach to have Hill commit to Alabama?
SS: It’s an awesome day. Anytime you get a guy to have an opportunity to play for the defending national champion, it’s great for him. It’s great for our program. It’s great for Huntsville High School. It’s great for our city. I’m just extremely excited for him, and I hope great things will happen for him.
TN: What kind of player is Hill on the field? What makes him a special player?
SS: First of all, he’s been blessed with tremendous size, but more than that, I think is his desire to excel. Usually, the guys who are bigger may not have that hunger or that desire, but Grant is an extremely hard worker whether it’s in the weight room or on the field. He has that meanness that you look for in those offensive lineman. He really has the desire to finish plays, finish blocks. And to not just block folks, but maul them.
TN: With that mentality, how do you see him fitting in at Alabama?
SS: I think he’ll fit in great there. Anytime you go from being a senior in high school to being a freshman in college, there’s going to be a steep curve mentally, more so than physically. I think physically, he could compete, and mentally, he’s smart guy, has a great GPA. So I think he will adjust well to the mental aspect as well. I think he can compete early.
TN: Hill said he played primarily at right tackle last year. Is that where the Alabama staff sees him playing?
SS: I think he’s versatile enough to play either guard or tackle. I’m not sure exactly where he’ll play for us next year, but with his size and with his footwork, he has the ability to play guard or tackle.
TN: As one of the better players on the team and a returning senior, will he take on more a leadership role?
SS: He’s going to share that burden this year. That’s the thing about being a profile athlete coming back your senior year. A lot of folks are going to have eyes on you, but I think he’s mature enough and has worked hard enough to know that he’s ready for that position. Of course, we will lean on him heavily for leadership, and I have no doubt that he will continue to provide the leadership by his work ethic and the time he invests in being the best football player he can be.
TN: Off the field, what’s Hill like around his teammates and in the classroom?
SS: He’s a reserved guy. He doesn’t say a whole lot. He’s easy to be seen, but you don’t hear a lot from him. When he does speak, he speaks very honestly. He’s an open, candid guy. He tells it like it is. Teammates like him and they respect him because of the work he puts in the weight room and during the offseason.
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough