Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Randal Hill

Happy 38th birthday to former Canes and Dolphins receiver Randal Hill. One of the fastest players to ever come out of the University of Miami, Hill made some of the biggest plays in Canes history during his college career from 1987 to 1990.

A Miami native, Hill grew up in the Richmond Heights section of southern Dade County. He was a two-sport star at Killian High School, where he was a 2-time All Dade County cornerback and a state champion sprinter on the track team. His ability to make big plays on kick returns and interceptions earned him the nickname "Thrill". During his senior year at Killian, Hill was named All-State, All South and was selected to the Adidas All American High School Football Team. The Miami Herald named Hill as Dade County's top high school prospect and virtually every football power recruited the speedster.

After going through the recruiting process, Hill decided to stay home and play his college football for the University of Miami. As soon as Hill stepped on campus for his first practice, it didn't take then UM head coach Jimmy Johnson long to figure out Hill's abilities were better suited for offense. He immediately saw action as a true freshman returning kickoffs for UM's 1987 national championship team. By his sophomore year, Hill was starting at wide receiver.

His most memorable play came in 1989 against Notre Dame. Facing a 3rd down and 44 situation, Canes quarterback Craig Erickson fired a deep pass to a streaking Hill, who beat two Notre Dame defenders for a 45 yard gain. The play sparked an epic 10 minute touchdown drive that led to Miami's 27-10 victory over the Irish. The victory gave Miami another national championship.

Hill is also remembered for his notorious tunnel touchdown against Texas in the 1991 Cotton Bowl--his final college game. Hill broke free on a long touchdown reception and kept on running through the end zone and into the tunnel. He later emerged from the stadium tunnel taunting the Texas players by motioning his hands like guns. Hill finished his college career with 107 catches for 1,643 yards and 11 touchdowns and ranks in the top 10 in all three categories in Canes football history.

In 1991 Hill was selected in the first round by the Miami Dolphins. But his pro career would never match the success of his college days. He played seven seasons for the Cardinals, Dolphins and Saints. He best season was 1992 with the Cardinals, catching 58 passes for 861 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Not lacking in confidence, Hill was known for his brash behavior and celebration dances. He legally changed his middle name to Thrill and would often raise his arms in celebration--even after a routine 5 yard catch. Hill once said he used to dream about running with cheetahs and getting stopped by police for running too fast. Since retiring from football, Hill became a law enforcement officer in Broward County.

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