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Tuesday, March 26, 2013
2015 QB Hilinski earning early attention

By Erik McKinney

The 2015 quarterback class in California is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory, and Tyler Hilinski (Upland, Calif./Upland) is well on his way to putting himself in the middle of that conversation.

The 6-foot-3 quarterback led his team to the finals of the Gamebreaker Classis this past weekend, as he put together a terrific performance on the second day. In a tournament filled with 2015 talent, Hilinski stood out as one of the most productive underclassmen in attendance.

Hilinski is already heaving from some of the top programs in the nation, as Alabama, Oklahoma and USC are just some of the programs to express interest at this early stage. And Hilinski, using what he learned while watching older brother Kelly -- a member of the 2013 recruiting class -- go through the process, has gotten off to an early jump in his recruitment.

Earlier this spring, Hilinski visited USC for the Trojans' junior day, and was back on campus last week to take in a USC spring practice.

"Their facilities are awesome," Hilinski said. "The new weight room and everything puts you in awe. They gave us the stats about the quarterbacks at USC and the life you can have after college. It was really appealing."

The biggest hurdle between Hilinski and a possible USC offer is likely fellow 2015 quarterback prospect David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), who gave a verbal commitment to the Trojans as an eighth-grader and hasn't shown the slightest sign of backing away from that.

But the Trojans will certainly keep an eye on local talent as well, as there is plenty of time between now and signing day 2015.

"They want me to keep sending them film and I'm going to just keep talking to them," Hilinski said of the USC coaches. "I've known coach [Clay] Helton for a while because of my brother. He said they're going to come out to the first day of spring practice."

But the Trojans are far from the only program talking to Hilinski at this point. He said he has a great relationship with quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo at Washington and with Doug Nussmeier at Alabama. Hilinski visited Washington for the Huskies' junior day earlier this year and could be in attendance for Alabama's spring game. He will also be on the road during the summer, as he plans to participate in Oklahoma's summer camp on June 1 and 2. Additionally, unofficial visits to Arizona, Arizona State and California will likely take place.

In the immediate future, however, Hilinski's plan is to continue getting out every weekend and proving himself at various 7-on-7 events, where he is developing a reputation as a player to watch every time out.

"Me going to these with my brother made me so much better," Hilinski said. "I went to all these 7-on-7 things and played a little bit, but this is different now. Being able to come out here as a starter and play with these guys is great."

These likely won't be the last starter's reps Hilinski takes this year, either. After completing 10 of 13 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown as his brother's backup at Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame last season, Hilinski transfered to Upland, where he will compete for the starting quarterback spot this fall.