This story originally appeared at Pittsburgh Sports Now, our home for WPIAL and college football coverage.
Western Pennsylvania contains a rich history of football, continually producing top talent as a pipeline through the NFL Draft. Countless players from the area have heard their name called on draft day, and 2019 may see one more player added to that list.
Only a few days after capturing the MVP award of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Slippery Rock running back Wes Hills finds himself continuing to get closer to achieving his dream of being selected in the NFL Draft.
Hills, who rushed for a touchdown and 78 yards in Saturday’s MVP performance at the Rose Bowl, now can be found on the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium ahead of college football’s most coveted all-star game, the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
“I always watched the Senior Bowl when I was in high school, and I always said ‘I wanna play in that one day’… Now I’m blessed with the opportunity and I gotta make the most of it” said Hills during a media day interview on Tuesday.
Hills is one of six running backs at the Senior Bowl, who divides their teams into respective North/South squads. Playing on the South team, Hills is one of three players to play at a division II school here in Mobile alongside Corey Ballentine (Washburn) and John Cominsky (Charleston).
When asked if coming from a smaller school added any extra pressure or motivation, Hills wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is:
“They’re men just like me, they breathe just like me. We all here for the same reason. I’m gonna line-up against you, you’re gonna line up against me… football is a man’s sport”.
On opening day of the 2018 season, 83 DII players were on an NFL roster. The Pittsburgh Steelers, playing just an hour drive away from Slippery Rock, held two of those players in Matt Feiler and Marcus Tucker. With Le’Veon Bell set to leave free agency, the Steelers may very well look in their back yard for a running back.
The Slippery Rock product appears confident in himself, but knows the importance of Senior Bowl week and everything else required to solidify his chances of going pro.
“You have to be able to test well, testing is big. Playing well in this game is going to be big. I was able to make most of my opportunity at the NFLPA game, and I’m hoping to continue that momentum into this week of practice, as well as the game. My focus is just taking it one play at a time, one drive at a time, one day at a time.” said Hills.
Despite playing out of a small school, Hills has all but handled the big stages he’s been on thus far, and will look to carry his great performances into the deep stages of the draft process.
The Senior Bowl will be played on Saturday, January 26th at 2:30 PM ET on NFL Network.