Justice Hill might be the best returning player in the Big 12.
And maybe a top-10 player in the entire college football universe.
But uh … well, let’s just say ESPN may have missed something!
Previewing the season this week, ESPN released a list of top-50 players in the sport. Among them were some you’d expect: Ed Oliver, Will Grier, Justin Herbert, etc. But a glaring omission on the list was Hill, who nationally has drawn preseason buzz as a darkhorse Heisman candidate.
After the article was published, ESPN’s Jake Trotter and Adam Rittenberg quickly noted Hill among the biggest snubs, though. Here’s Trotter.
Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, the reigning Big 12 rushing champ, was a notable omission. Despite operating out of an offense tilted toward the deep ball last year with Mason Rudolph and James Washington, Hill still finished with 1,467 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. With both Rudolph and Washington now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hill has become the new engine in coach Mike Gundy’s offense. And he could be in for a monster campaign. [ESPN]
And Rittenberg …
We’re about to find out just how valuable Hill is to Oklahoma State’s offense. The Pokes lose record-setting quarterback Mason Rudolph and Biletnikoff Award-winning wide receiver James Washington, creating significant production voids in the passing game. It puts a greater burden on Hill, who is more than capable after rushing for 2,609 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first two seasons. He has averaged 5.5 yards per carry in each of those seasons but nearly tripled his touchdowns total from six in 2016 to 15 last year, while logging 62 more carries. While Rodney Anderson is a worthy inclusion, there’s a good debate about the best running back in the state of Oklahoma. Hill absolutely deserves to be here. [ESPN]
Hill definitely has bigger fish to fry — like out-racing his younger brother, trying to figure out how many 45s he’s going to put on for deadlift, you name it — so he’d be the last to cry foul about a snub.
But one of this nature … it’s surprising. After seeing what Hill can do on the football field over the last two seasons, though, it likely won’t take long for this omission to be proven painfully wrong.