The two college prospects possess size and speed.
Rodney Hill can be a happy-go-lucky guy, but when he gets on the football field, he’s all business, Flagler Palm Coast defensive coordinator Norris Lightsey said.
Hill has a lot to be happy about. The rising junior didn’t earn a starting spot until late in the season last year, but he turned heads at the Miami Under Armor Camp in February, where he was named Linebacker MVP. Since then, offers from teams in Power Five conferences have been rolling in.
“Rodney gets a lot of attention from colleges, so they’re able to see us too, and that gives exposure to all of the players,” said rising senior Ashton Bracewell.
Bracewell has been raking in a number of offers himself, including Navy, Florida Atlantic, Toledo and Akron.
Hill and Bracewell will be lining up next to each other this fall, with the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Bracewell playing middle linebacker and the 5-11, 205-pound Hill playing strongside linebacker.
“The linebacker corps is probably our most experience group, probably our most talented group,” Lightsey said. “Ashton can play a number of positions. He made some great plays as a hybrid strong safety/linebacker last year. We’re going to take advantage of his versatility.”
Hill can play just about anywhere too.
“Last season, he didn’t really start, but every game he made a play. To the left side of the field, to the right side of the field. It didn’t matter where the ball was, he was getting it.”
ASHTON BRACEWELL on Rodney Hill
“Last season, he didn’t really start, but every game he made a play,” Bracewell said. “To the left side of the field, to the right side of the field, it didn’t matter where the ball was, he was getting it.”
The rest of the defense is young with the line dominated by first-year starters. Ely Gilyard and Eddy Luna will likely play cornerback. Benjamin Laurore, a transfer from Boca Raton St. Andrew’s will likely play outside linebacker or strong safety.
“We’re going to be very good if we get everybody on the same track, everybody doing their job,” Hill said.
Hill said he surprised himself at the Under Armor Camp.
“I earned MVP. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did it,” he said. “It pushed me to work harder and take things more seriously.”
“He’s got God-given ability and the mindset of a football player,” Lightsey said. “When he gets between the lines, he’s ready to play.”
Hill and Bracewell like the idea of lining up next to each other this season.
“You can’t run away from us,” Hill said. “We’ll catch you.”