UGA signee Trey Hill sports sweet Bulldog-red jacket at signing
It has been a month full of Christmases come early for the University of Georgia and its football fans.
There was the Dec. 2 win over Auburn to wrap up the Dawgs' first SEC championship in more than a decade.
On Dec. 3, there came an invite to the Rose Bowl and Georgia's first-ever berth in the four-team college playoffs.
Then there was early signing day, a new wrinkle in recruiting that allows players to sign with schools before the traditional time in February. Georgia's wish list was rife with four- and five-star prospects, the latter of whom the Bulldogs signed six.
And after many of them — including the nation's top-ranked quarterback, running back and offensive guard — inked with the Dawgs on Wednesday, national recruiting pundits declared UGA's haul among the top one or two classes in the land.
So if it looks like Santa Claus is wearing Georgia red this year, there is good reason.
For Georgia fans, the run-up to the Rose Bowl, a game the Bulldogs haven't played in since 1943, has lent a Christmas Eve air to the football proceedings to come.
Consider the signing-ceremony scene in the library at Houston County High School on Wednesday morning.
Trey Hill, a 6-foot-3, 346-pound offensive guard for the Bears, who was rated by some as the No. 2 player at that position in America, made it official that he would become a Bulldog and join former high school teammate and quarterback Jake Fromm in Athens.
Hill arrived Wednesday, parents at his side, in a red-velvet blazer, size 54 long. He wore matching hot-red designer shoes, size 14s. He could have passed for a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade.
One of his teachers, Jamie Stewart, herself a Georgia graduate, described Hill as a “kind, gentle giant of a young man. ... Quiet, but very sharp.”
Stewart told of explaining sometimes-difficult-to-grasp geometric proofs to Hill when he was a 10th-grader. She mentioned Hill's “ability to reason” and appreciate the way mathematics and its concepts can inform the decisions we make in everyday life.
She figures she didn't hold much sway in Hill's choosing the Bulldogs over 40 or so other squads that wanted him, but her UGA leanings probably didn't hurt. Every time she tried to persuade Hill to sign with “my dogs,” as she calls them, Hill would flash her a grin.
The other night when Hill picked Georgia at a team banquet, Stewart was on her sofa watching a live-streamed feed of the event. When Hill declared himself a Bulldog, Stewart screamed.
Her husband rushed in to see what the noise was.
“Sorry,” she said, “that was me. Trey’s going to Georgia.”
Before Hill signed the requisite paperwork, he talked for all of 20 seconds, telling those gathered that he thanked them and God for “this outstanding opportunity. … Thank you and go dogs.”
His mother, Lillie, who runs a day care center in Macon County, later said she had known since he was 3 that her son, just by the way he ran around like a ballplayer, was “gonna be special.”
Hill, who will enroll at Georgia in January, said the Bulldogs were the right fit for him because “it’s home” and that Athens is “where I want to be.”
Hill said Georgia’s renowned offensive line guru, coach Sam Pittman, was also one of the reasons he chose the Bulldogs.
“We’re building a wall,” Hill said, referring to Georgia’s drive to keep homegrown talent in-state, “and go dogs.”