No Ties
Dalton Hilliard (© Barry Markowitz, 2007)
National Recruiting Editor
Posted May 26, 2008


"I'm keeping all of my options open," Dalton Hilliard said. "I don't have a top school and I just want to take some time and check things out. But I'd prefer to commit early, although I might not be able to before the summer ends. It's tough getting out to the mainland, so I might have to wait to take my official visits during the fall. I'll probably make a decision in December..."

Dalton Hilliard, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound four-star running back from Punahou High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, has nine scholarship offers but still hasn't started narrowing down his choices.

"I'm keeping all of my options open," Hilliard said. "I don't have a top school and I just want to take some time and check things out. But I'd prefer to commit early, although I might not be able to before the summer ends. It's tough getting out to the mainland, so I might have to wait to take my official visits during the fall. I'll probably make a decision in December."

Although he denies a favorite, Hilliard says he likes Stanford, UCLA, California, Colorado, Nebraska and Notre Dame. All of them have offered except the Bruins and Bears. Utah, Arizona, UNLV and Army have also offered.

"Stanford has a beautiful campus," he said. "I was just there last weekend (May 17) and loved it. I also love their academics. It's an amazing place and a great opportunity to go and get a great degree, while playing in a top conference.

"Coach Jim Harbaugh really wants to win and is recruiting well and has the team going in the right direction," he said. "Hopefully they'll have a good season next year. Plus, he has NFL experience and can help get me prepared for the next level."

Hilliard says he also recently visited UCLA and Cal as well. "The coaches at UCLA are all really gracious and helpful people," he said. "I got to spend some time with (assistant) coach Mike Rutenberg and he was really cool. They are really excited and upbeat about this season.

"I also love the campus at UCLA. It's very nice," he said.

"They haven't really talked about offering me yet," he said. "They said that in June they should have a better idea if they'll offer or not.

"Cal told me they don't like to do early offers and said they prefer taking some time to get to know their recruits," he said. "They don't want to end up offering some knucklehead and regret it. I like that approach and they do seem to like me a lot too."

The first school to offer Hilliard was Colorado last September. He says the Buffs are also recruiting him the hardest. "They are sending me the most stuff," he said. "I get all kinds of things from them and lots of handwritten notes and letters. They really make you feel special."

Growing up Hilliard admits he never followed a specific school. "I just rooted for the best teams," he said. "I just liked watching football.

"I've lived in seven different places, so I never felt like I had a home team to root for," he said.

His father is a major in the Marine Corps and has moved around quite a bit. Hilliard was born in California, then lived in Virginia, then North Carolina, then New York before finally settling in Hawaii.

"It's been great getting to live in all those different places," he said. "I got to experience a lot of different things and now I'm not really tied to a specific place or anything. I'm pretty open to going anywhere.

"I want a school with great tradition and a coach that wants to win," he said. "I want someone who will help me get to the next level."

That's one of the main things that Hilliard likes about Notre Dame.

"I've watched a lot of Notre Dame games and their tradition is ridiculous," he said. "Coach Charlie Weis is an amazing coach and has such great presence. Plus, he has crazy NFL contacts and is known for helping guys develop and get to the next level."

Nebraska is another school that Hilliard hopes to learn more about. "I don't know too much about Nebraska, but I've liked coach Bo Pelini since he was at LSU," he said. "I went to a LSU camp a few years ago and actually met him there. I like their tradition too and they send a lot of guys to the NFL. Hopefully they'll be able to turn it around."

Hilliard, Scout.com's No. 30 running back in the country, finished his junior season with 1,500 total yards and 17 touchdowns. He played both running back and slot.

"I'm elusive and can make players miss," he said. "I never get tackled on the first hit and am great in open space. I know how to take pitches and screens. I always finish my runs and don't lose yards."

He benches 280-pounds and says he is working on improving his strength. "I've bulked up a bit already," he said. "I played at 180 last season and am at 193 now. I want to get stronger and be a more powerful runner. I want to break tackles better and run through the trenches."

Hilliard reports a 3.4 core GPA and is taking the SAT on June 7 and ACT on June 14. "I took a PSAT and got a 1790, so hopefully I'll be able to do even better on the actual test."



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