Morgan football gaining, thanks to cornerback Hill


It is not apparent in the win-loss column, but there is an infusion of new football talent on the Morgan State campus that could be the first step in restoring the recognition and the support generated by teams of other years.

The winning streaks of teams coached by the late Ed Hurt and Earl Banks are not in jeopardy, but sophomore cornerback Eddie Hill believes times are changing.

"We may be 0-2, but it's not how you start but how you finish that's important," he said. "Last year, the Bears opened 3-0-1, then staggered to a 4-6-1 finish.

Even though there has been a non-winning football program in recent years, out-of-state alumni and friends continue to steer talented young athletes to the Hillen Road campus.

Hill is just such an athlete, although he was not recruited coming out of Eastside High School in Paterson, N.J.

"I hurt my wrist in the first game of my senior year and did not play," Hill said before practice the other day. "College coaches were coming around school, and my coaches thought the college people were talking to me, but they weren't.

"I was in the coaches' office one day, and there was a Morgan State poster on the wall. The coach talked to me about college, told me about Morgan State and its winning tradition. So I decided to come down," said Hill.

Hill, 5 feet 11, 185 pounds, walked on last year, unannounced and unknown.

Hill came out of spring practice as a starting cornerback. Two games into the season he has become one of the team's defensive standouts. He has been in on 11 tackles, two for losses, broken up three passes, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass.

"Defensive back is a reaction position," he said. "You find yourself doing things automatically. I just go out and play. I don't try to think too much; think and you lose a step."

In the opener against Central State, he stepped in front of a receiver and returned the interception for a touchdown, but an official ruled he had stepped out of bounds. Against Bethune-Cookman last week, teammate Marc Meekins blocked a punt (Hill originally was credited with the block, but he was quick to credit Meekins), Hill scooped up the ball and ran 46 yards for a touchdown, easily leaving pursuers behind. "All I know is I didn't look back," he said.

Hill said he didn't feel pressure on the field, and that is understandable, considering his background.

He was in the movie, "Lean on Me," the story of Joe Clark, principal of Eastside High School, and his efforts to bring pride and discipline to the school. Said Hill: "He was tough, but fair. I don't know, but I think most inner-city schools were like that. Peer pressure is a much harder pressure to deal with than athletic pressure. People are always trying to get you to do things."

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