Jordan Hill’s scholarship offer from Penn State didn’t come until two months before signing day. Four years later, he was the first member of a historic senior class to move on to the pros.
Hill was the first Nittany Lion to hear his name called in the 2013 NFL Draft, as he was selected in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks. The defensive tackle from the Harrisburg area was the 87th overall selection.
The pick was another feather in the cap for long-time Lions defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Hill became the 10th lineman coached by Johnson to be drafted since 2003.
It very nearly didn’t happen for Hill at Penn State, as he had been looking at Pitt and Rutgers before the Lions came through with an offer in December 2008. He verbally commited to the Lions in January just after Penn State’s Rose Bowl appearance.
Lightly regarded by recruiting services, Hill saw time at defensive tackle as a true freshman and became one of the team’s most reliable performers through four productive years.
As a co-captain in 2012, Hill finished with 64 tackles (8.5 for loss) and 4.5 sacks to go with an interception and a forced fumble.
His 6-foot-1 frame pushed him down on some draft boards, but Hill rarely had issues against bigger competition. Facing Wisconsin’s traditionally massive offensive line in his final college game, Hill was the best player on the field. In particular, he terrorized Badgers center Travis Frederick, a first-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
“At the Senior Bowl, he never stopped,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said on the broadcast. “He’s got a great motor. A typical Penn State kid that will really help that team.”
Penn State has had a player selected in the third round or earlier every year since 2005, when no Lions were drafted.
A handful of Hill’s teammates will likely hear their names called today on the final day of the draft, which concludes with Rounds 4-7, beginning at noon.
Linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti are both likely to hear their names called early this afternoon.
Center Matt Stankiewitch is also expected to be drafted. Cornerback Stephon Morris and tackle Mike Farrell are rated as potential late-round picks.
Other draft-eligible Lions include QB Matt McGloin, FB Michael Zordich, DE Sean Stanley, DE Pete Massaro and DT James Terry. Undrafted players will begin signing free-agent deals with teams as early as this evening.