Houston County head coach Ryan Crawford knows exactly how good star offensive lineman Trey Hill is.
But Crawford is focusing on the improvements Hill can still make, and the Bears’ head coach is reminding his senior standout of that each day.
Hill, who is rated as the No. 2 guard nationally in the 2018 recruiting class by the 247Sports composite rankings, says he’s up to that challenge. And that includes playing some defense this season.
The Bears’ star, who has been named to The Telegraph’s Ten to Treasure preseason team, and his teammates open their season Thursday against Jones County in the Corky Kell Classic at Mercer.
“Just be a leader for the team, carry the team and hopefully win state,” Hill said of his goals this season. “Basically, wherever they want me to play, I’m going to play. Whatever’s best for the team, that’s for me.”
That’s exactly what Crawford, who was promoted to head coach this offseason after Von Lassiter left the program to take over at Bleckley County, wants to hear. This season marks the second straight year Houston County has had one of the nation’s top players after quarterback Jake Fromm signed with Georgia.
“Trey’s a great player. He’s a big-time player, and he can be as good as he wants to be,” Crawford said. “Any time you’ve got a player of that caliber, the biggest thing they’ve got to do is play every play. That’s Trey’s deal, he’s got to play every snap, and he can be as good as he wants to be. And trying to understand that you have to continue to get better.
“You’re never as good as you think you are because, obviously, at this level, he’s played a lot of football, but you continue to get better down the road, and what can he do to help this football team win is what I’m trying to make sure he understands and continue to on a daily basis.”
Hill says he understands what his head coach is looking from him this season. The 6-foot-3, 335-pounder has been linked to just about every top college program in the nation, especially in the Southeast, and he took part in The Opening, a Nike recruiting event, this summer.
But he’s not focusing on his college choice just yet, other than to say he will enroll early.
“I haven’t come up with any of that yet,” Hill said when asked about his college favorites. “I’m just getting into the season and just starting school. So I’m just focusing on work and what’s best for our team and helping us win. Once the season gets going, week six or seven, I’ll start thinking about that and try to make a decision.”
Ten to Treasure
The Telegraph’s 10 players to watch during the 2017 season from high schools in Bibb, Houston, Peach, Monroe, Jones, Crawford and Twiggs counties:
School: Warner Robins.
Height, weight: 6-6, 290.
Of note: Armstrong has committed to Florida State.
Height, weight: 6-0, 180.
Of note: Cox threw for more than 2,200 yards as a junior.
School: Houston County.
Height, weight: 6-3, 335.
Of note: Hill is rated as the No. 2 guard in the nation by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Position: Wide receiver.
Height, weight: 5-8, 185.
Of note: Horton was an honorable mention All-Middle Georgia pick last season.
School: Peach County.
Height, weight: 6-1, 215.
Of note: Jackson has committed to Georgia Tech.
School: Peach County.
Height, weight: 6-0, 203.
Of note: Jackson is rated as the 25th best wide receiver in the nation by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Height, weight: 5-10, 175.
Of note: Has 549 yards and four touchdowns rushing and 409 yards and five touchdowns receiving the past two seasons.
School: Jones County.
Height, weight: 5-11, 180.
Of note: Ross had 70 total tackles, two tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, 12 break-ups and two interceptions playing defense in 2016.
Height, weight: 6-5, 218.
Of note: Slocum is entering his third season as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.
Position: Defensive end.
Height, weight: 6-4, 240.
Of note: Umerah has committed to Stanford.