“Quit What I Start”: Dax Hill explains how to stay in Ann Arbor
If you compare Michigan’s 2018 football list and its spring 2021 list, you will notice something strange. Coach Jim Harbaugh is still there, of course. That has been the subject of a lot of debates that will not be dealt with here. But there is only one left among his assistant coaches – Sherrone Moore, then the tight-end coach, now the offensive line coach.
With all of the changes surrounding Michigan’s football program over the past two seasons, no position has experienced more coaching turmoil than the security group. Since Star Junior Daxton Hill arrived on campus in the winter of 2019, the Wolverines have ridden through five safety trainers. Chris Partridge left the company after the 2019 season, replaced by Bob Shoop, whose mysterious personal problems led Aashon Larkins to coach the unit in the 2020 2-4 campaign. In January, the new co-defensive coordinator Maurice Linguist was appointed defensive back coach. A month later Michigan mixed things up again and brought Ron Bellamy – a former wide-angle receiver originally intended to coach that unit – to safety.
And yet, despite all this turmoil, Hill stayed in Ann Arbor.
“It was really hard to get in,” said Hill on Thursday. “Coach Partridge, he recruited me with Coach Moore. Then when I saw him go it was a big deal for me because they really were the hardest recruiter for me. It was difficult to see him and the following coaches leave, and it was difficult just to adjust to the new coaching and then build a relationship.
“But at the end of the day, I know that’s exactly how it works at the college level. People come and go, so I had that mentality. Really just whoever came in, I’ll just be myself, have the best relationship I can have with this coach. So it was difficult to have a lot of different safety coaches. ”
Before Hill paused to ask the next reporter, he offered a familiar tune: “But I have a feeling Bellamy will do a great job of security this year.”
That feeling may be true, but it doesn’t erase everything Hill said earlier about how difficult it all was. Nor does it erase the questions of what could have been.
In Michigan, Hill was a good, sometimes excellent, piece of a beleaguered high school. But he only won 11 out of 19 games and never won a bowl game. Meanwhile, Alabama, the school where he was briefly engaged in the fall of 2018, is 24-2 with a national championship along this route. Crimson Tide’s safety trainer, Charles Kelly, was there the entire time.
When asked if he would consider entering the transfer portal, where it would be a sought-after commodity, Hill rebuked.
“No,” said Hill. “Finish what I start, that’s my mentality.”
Minutes earlier he gave an explanation of why.
“With this deal, I really just have to trust your gut,” said Hill. “Sometimes people do it because they think it’s the best decision for them. Really just our impression or our opinion, I really don’t have too much to say about that. But Transferportal, if you don’t feel like you’re here, that’s your business. Really just stay true to yourself. If you see that you can take it and be productive with a team, I’m all for it. If not, when you see yourself playing elsewhere, that’s your choice. “
And despite all the excitement around him, Hill’s answer seems that simple.
Whether he would decide to go to Michigan if he could do it all over is a hypothesis for another day. But thanks to Hill’s gut instinct, the Wolverines will have their star safety for at least another year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges for all of us – including the Michigan Daily – but that hasn’t stopped our employees. We aim to report on the topics that are most important to the communities in which we live, learn and work. Your donations keep our journalism free and independent. You can support our work Here.
Sign up for our newsletter for a weekly recap of The Michigan Daily’s best stories Here.