Spiced Up Showcase: Austin Hill (2029 Quarterback)

    Working with DR Sportz and The Platform over the last several years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to see many young athletes shine before they get to the high school level.

    As players go through the ranks from youth football to middle school, then eventually to high school, we are fortunate to see them progress and develop at DR7 tournaments through 7v7 competition.

    One player that has shined since I first saw him in 12u and has continued to grow since is quarterback Austin “Smiles” Hill.

    Hill hails from Longview, Texas and is getting set to enter his eighth grade year. He is a class of 2029 quarterback.

    I first saw Hill playing quarterback with 903 Elite, a group of east Texas kids who were turning heads at our 2022 DR7 Dallas tournament. Unfortunately, the team fell through after that year and I wondered what would come of that team.

    So often in 7v7, you see teams comprised of players from varying schools. Seldom do you get a program that has the majority of their guys that will play together in high school. 903 Elite was an exception to that.

    The team of course featured Hill, but also had many of the players that would be playing alongside Hill in middle school and in the future.

    I wondered if the majority of them would go their separate ways, but fortunately they were able to stay in tact through a different program: Texas Epic.

    Hill and his teammates would make the trip from Longview to Dallas – about a two hour drive – to compete in tournaments nearly every weekend over the next several years.

    The trips paid off, as Hill and his teammates have won numerous championships since. He says however that the chemistry built with current and future teammates is the most rewarding part.

    I think that will translate very well in to high school football because weve just been working together for a long time and I think our chemistry is there,” Hill says. “Just having them around me makes the game a lot easier.”

    Hill adds that chemistry is key for a quarterback and receiver relationship and is something he has taken pride in mastering with his.

    Its very important because if you dont have chemistry you dont know how, if youre a receiver you dont know how your quarterback thinks,” Hill said. “Knowing how your receiver or quarterback thinks, it helps you find zones and read defenses better and it just helps the team overall.”

    With Texas Epic, Hill plays with head coach Don Smith. If you are around the 7v7 world you know Smith. He has an extensive track record of winning at high levels over the last decade, from school teams to eventually forming the Texas Epic program in 2022.

    Playing for him is unreal,” Hill said. “Its like, Ive never had a coach like him before, the way he sees the game its just, its so unreal.

    “Hes also a great mentor, he holds me and all our teammates to a very high standard – a higher standard than most coaches would hold you to. He expects us to be better every game and every tournament, so I admire that about him and hes also just a very great coach.”

    While Smith has been a great mentor to Hill, so to have the numerous coaches he has met through various camps and combines. Hill has attended the Elite 11 camp series for the last three years, and also participated in the Under Armour Next Series earlier this year.

    Those events have given Hill a chance to grow not only as a quarterback, but a person as well he says.

    Theyve helped me improve a lot with my skill, but I think the main thing theyve really helped me improve on is like being a person individually and being a person within my community,” Hill said. “They teach more than just football, they teach being a person and they teach what it means to actually be a quarterback besides the game.”

    As Hill gears up for his eighth grade year, he says he’s been polishing his skills and working to perfect his flaws before the season.

    He adds some additional goals that he hopes to fulfill before high school: Im hoping to build a stronger relationship with my teammates and just build that bond before high school so we can go in to high school with a strong bond,” Hill said. “Im also hoping to have some good competition so it helps with any struggles we face in high school.”

    While his success on the field is impressive, he also works hard in the classroom. Hill had a near perfect score on the STAAR test this year.

    He says he feels good quarterbacks are able to lead not only on the field, but off of it.

    At a high level, all quarterbacks can throw the ball and they can all use their skills, but what makes a great quarterback is probably the ability to lead the team and keep everyones heads up through struggle and just be a team player without any conflicts within your team,” Hill said. “Also, being a person within the community and holding everybody to the highest standard possible is what I think makes a great quarterback.”

    As he gets ready to transition to Friday night lights for the storied Longview program next year, Hill is a name to know in east Texas and beyond.

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