Jaden Hill - Feature Piece

04-29-2019

“Anything I needed, they made sure that I got that, and they put me in the best situation to be successful, and I feel like I owe them the world.”

Jaden Hill’s biggest goal for his future in baseball is to support his family. They put him in showcases, brought him to tournaments, and showed unconditional support for him throughout his entire baseball career. He wants to repay them for all they have done, and the game of baseball is giving him that opportunity.

Hill is a six-foot-four, right handed pitcher who hails from Ashdown Arkansas. He is athletically built and towers most people he encounters. His upper left arm is covered in tattoos that honor his family and his hometown. Tattoos of his area code, 903, and a saying his uncle always used to tell him, “All gas, no brakes” paint his bicep. His demeanor can be extremely intimidating to those who don’t know him. He is reserved but friendly to strangers.

But Hill is a character to those who know him on a personal level. He is one of the most outgoing, fun people to be around and surely loves to entertain. Aside from being an extremely versatile athlete, Hill is quite the dancer.

 

There are countless videos of Hill dancing everywhere. Whether he is wearing a cowboy hat and strumming a bat like a guitar in the locker room or he is “hitting the whoa” to whatever rap song is playing, he is dancing and entertaining his friends. His favorite song to “cut up to,” though, is “Workin’ My Shoulders” by Big Fella.

Hill also has “drip,” as he would call it. His bedroom is lined with

sneakers from wall to wall. If the lights are off in his room, it’s easy to

trip over the train of shoes. He is also sure to make sure his outfit is on

point before he “steps out.”

 

In high school, he acquired many accolades, including 2017 Arkansas

Gatorade Player of the Year. His control, confidence, and competitiveness

make him an intimidating threat on the mound. The freshman had eight

strikeouts in just his first appearance pitching for the Tigers. 

Hill was a dual sport athlete in high school. He was a superstar in both baseball

and football. He was a highly recruited quarterback and received offers all over

the country to play football in college, but he chose baseball. 

There are many dual sport athletes who excel in multiple sports but must

choose one to pursue. Kyler Murray, for instance, was drafted for the Oakland A’s

but wanted to continue to play out his college football and baseball careers. After

the Oklahoma Sooners’ Heisman Trophy winner completed his season, he

announced he would no longer be playing baseball in the MLB but would,

instead, be pursuing his career in the NFL. His love for the game of football

was stronger than his love for the game of baseball.

Hill’s love for the game may be similar to Murray’s but his family is his biggest reason for his decision. “I felt like baseball was just a better route for me. I felt like I could go farther with it and give myself a better opportunity to provide for my family,” Hill said. Even when making a life-altering decision, he had one thing in mind: family. 

Hill is selfless. When he chose to pursue baseball, he still had all of the phone numbers of the college football coaches who recruited him in his phone. One of his high school football teammates was trying desperately to get recruited, so Hill decided to do what he could. He sent his friend’s highlight film to every college football coach whose number he had. His friend was able to commit to play college ball. “That’s how I am. I put others before me because I would want them to do the same,” Hill said. Because his family has put him first throughout their lives, he plans on doing the same for them.

Hill played baseball his whole life but didn’t realize the doors it could open for him until his brother walked through those same doors. His older brother, Kentrell Hill, played college baseball and was eventually drafted and played in the MLB. His accomplishments and work ethic inspired his younger brother to take the game seriously because of the opportunities the game could give him.

The draft process out of highschool can be overwhelming, as teenagers are forced to make a decision either to continue to play for a college or go straight to the Minor League to prepare for the Major League. 

Questionnaires, medical history reports, and in-home visits begin to swarm potential draftees. Recruiters observe players in game situations to see what kind of attitudes and skills each one obtains and decide whether or not they are interested. Recruiters also spend time with players and their families to get to know players outside of the game and to see what their family life is like. Obviously, family is a large part of who Jaden Hill is and recruiters absolutely loved who he is.

Hill was visited by “too many teams to name” and was drafted in the 38th round of the 2018 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite being offered a large amount of money to participate in the highest level of the game, Hill chose to attend and play for LSU. “I just felt like I could develop into a pitcher here. I could mature and learn how to play the game. Being here is probably the best decision I’ve made,” Hill said. 

He has learned more here than he could ever learn anywhere else. “It’s tough,” Hill said. “Everything you do goes into each pitch. Workouts, meetings, everything goes onto the mound. Everything you do has to be 1000 percent effort.” 

Playing for LSU is something Hill has dreamt of since he got serious about the game. “Playing for Coach Allen Dunn was a dream of mine,” Hill said.  Hill described what it feels like to be on the mound in Alex Box Stadium, surrounded by the “greatest fans in college baseball.” “It’s an amazing feeling. You have to be out there to get it.”

Currently, Hill has a strained ulnar collateral ligament, which has kept him from pitching in a game for a little over two months. The injury is common in the game and shouldn’t affect his future in baseball as long as he continues to rehab properly and come back strong. But, if his injury were to keep him from the game, Hill plans to, again, put others first. “I would want my own training facility to work with athletes. I just want to help kids. I want to be able to rehab and prehab kids and get them healthy,” Hill said. 

Hill is oriented around what he can do for others. Of course, baseball is a top priority, but he never loses sight of what he holds deep in his heart: the people who love and support him. It’s obvious that Jaden Hill’s future is bright but not just because of baseball. His character and selflessness are explicit to everyone around him. He makes sure that he can do all that he can to make sure his “people are taken care of” and plans to use baseball as a platform to do exactly that.

After sacrificing time with his friends to do an interview, Hill jumped out of his desk chair and ran into the kitchen. His teammates were blaring Lil Wayne’s “Uproar,” and Hill, as if he didn’t skip a beat, began to sing and dance along with them. 

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Derrius Guice-Post Citrus Bowl

12-30-16

What other way to end 2016 than with a final win for Coach Ed Orgeron and The LSU Tigers! The Fighting Tigers are scheduled to face the Louisville Cardinals in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida on New Year's Eve. In order to obtain the Big Win, consistency is key. Despite the fact that it is obviously the most significant game of the season, the team's preparation for it does not differ from that of any other game.

 

In fact, Coach "O" has maintained the status quo by

continually running practices in shorter sessions than

they were run during previous Coach Les Miles' term.

Players seem to appreciate the consistency, especially

running back Derrius Guice."That is one of the biggest

things about Coach O; he is consistent , which makes

us more and more ready. Practices are short, which is

a great thing because it keeps us fresh for the game."

 

Although practices are short, they are efficient. Not

only does the team practice and perfect strategy, it

focuses on the mental aspects of the game. For this

particular game, the most important focus is on being

one team."If we all play as one team, no one can break

us," Guice elaborates. Part of playing as one team

includes setting team goals. Unanimously, the players

pinpointed one specific goal: stop the Heisman Trophy

winner Lamar Jackson. 

 

Although the Tigers' focal point is on the team working as one, one specific player is in the spotlight. Derrius Guice, the Tigers' rising superstar running back, has consistently outperformed expectations. Because Leonard Fournette's injury caused Guice to step up earlier in the season, nothing much will change with Fournette's absence from this game. Not only was Fournette's decision not to play in this game expected, but it was encouraged.

The team supported Fournette's decision with the reasoning that it was best for him and his future. With Fournette out Guice has been given the opportunity to step up as RB1, yet again."Me being RB1 is really nothing new considering it has been this way half of the season. The team trusts me with the responsibility. This game is no bigger or smaller than any other game we have played. Pressure? There is no pressure. I know what I have to get done. I know what I must accomplish. I will do that."

 

Guice makes it known that this is just another day on the job for him. It's a routine. Do the work; make the money. In this case, play the best he can; come out with a win. That is his only goal for this game."My only goal for this weekend is to bring home the W."His priorities are obvious and so are theTeam's. Playing as one entity will allow for great success. As Guice said, the Fighting Tigers are unstoppable when they play as one. One team, one heartbeat.

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