Hill becomes Western’s all-time rushing king, leads nation
By Kyle Inman
September 26, 2012
Michael Hill ran into the Griffon history books on Saturday at Fort Hays when he broke Western’s 15-year-old all-time leading career rushing record.
“I’m just lucky to be in the position that I am,” the running back from St. Joseph said. “I’m honored to have the record and I’ve just been around great players and coaches the entire time I’ve been here. Every player here made me get it, it’s not just mine.”
Hill ran for 198 yards at Hays and needed just 56 yards to become Western’s career-rushing king. Hill has rushed for 3,538 in his career and his 709 attempts also sets the all-time mark for carries.
Hill has ran for 743 yards so far in his senior season for an average of 184.2 yards-per-game which leads the entire nation in rushing. Hill was third on the list before his near 200-yard outburst at Hays.
“It’s pretty big, but we’re only in game four,” Hill said. “We’ve got a long road ahead of us and that’s awesome that we got to this point, but you have to strive for more.”
Although Hill has proven to be the Griffons’ and the country’s most dangerous weapon, he isn’t worried about teams stacking the box and focusing solely on stopping him.
“If they do, then we are going to throw the ball down the field, and they will have to cover that, too,” Hill said. “Travis is a good thrower, and we have good receivers, too, that will catch the ball.”
Hill wasn’t recruited highly coming out of Central High School by other teams besides Western. That’s a fact that coach Jerry Partridge still doesn’t understand to this day.
“I was amazed every time I talked to him that somebody else wasn’t talking to him,” Partridge said. “I thought the 1-AA teams were going to get on him. I never understood why the MIAA wasn’t recruiting him.”
Despite not being at the top of everyone’s list coming out of high school, Hill doesn’t walk around with a chip on shoulder or use it for motivation. He just takes care of business.
“I really don’t care,” Hill said. “I’m happy that I’m here, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. “
Hill is an all-around back that shows no weaknesses in his game. He is big, strong, fast, and can do damage on the ground or as a receiver. Offensive coordinator Tyler Fenwick has noticed the improvement in Hill, even from last season when he led the MIAA in rushing.
“You’ve seen him run away from people this year. I think he’s gotten faster than last year, he’s breaking a lot more longer runs,” Fenwick said.
Fenwick credits Hill’s understanding of the game and work ethic in the film room for a lot of his improvement over his time at Western.
“I think he really understands all the little things about being a running back,” Fenwick said. “Over the years, the more carries he gets, he learns and studies himself on film to make himself better. He’s just so strong and explosive and just a good kid. He works hard.”
According to Hill, the people around him deserve a lot of credit for getting him into the record books, including being mentored by starter Thomas Hodges during his redshirt freshman season.
“It goes way back to when I was splitting carries with Hodges and him being a great role model for me,” Hill said. “He did a great job teaching me and helping me out with the plays and stuff.”
One would think that Hill’s success as a Griffon would have him thinking about the next level, but that’s not something that has his focus right now.
“I would love to play after this year, and that’s every player’s dream, but I can’t look ahead at all,” Hill said. “You can’t afford to let up or be satisfied, especially in week four with seven other games to play.”