Dalton Hilliard, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound three-star running back from Punahou High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, has helped lead his team to a 4-1 record with over 700 all-purpose yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
Hilliard, Scout.com's No. 36 running back, has 10 scholarship offers and has narrowed his choices to seven schools. Although he still refuses to name a leader, Hilliard admits favoring Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, California and Washington. All have offered except UCLA and Cal.
"UCLA and Cal are both recruiting me a lot," Hilliard said.
"I talk to the coaches regularly. I talked with (defensive line) coach Tosh Lupoi from Cal and he's a nice guy. We've been talking about what it's like at Berkeley and what it's like being a student-athlete there. Cal has a lot to offer."
He says that he plans on sending both the Bruins and Bears some game tape from this season. "They both asked to get some more film on me," he said. "After our next game I plan on sending them the film and hopefully they'll offer. We'll see."
Although Hilliard hasn't scheduled any official visits yet, he says he plans to do that soon. "I hope to start setting them up this week," he said. "I definitely plan on visiting Nebraska, Colorado, Stanford and Arizona. I'm still not sure about the last one though."
Nebraska is one of the few schools he hasn't unofficially visited yet and he says that they are recruiting him the hardest. "They write handwritten letter every other day," Hilliard said. "They also call whenever they can and I really feel like they are working hard recruiting me."
Hilliard says that he's being recruited by Huskers secondary coach Marvin Sanders. "We talk about everything," he said. "He tells me how I'd fit in with their offense and he said that I'd be a space back for them. He says that they'd want to play to my advantage and that they already have several power backs."
Another thing the Huskers have going for them is their fast start to the 2008 season. "They seem to be getting into a rhythm and are starting to look like those Top 25 Nebraska teams," he said. "It's been a long time for them. They are really moving in a positive direction."
Like Nebraksa, Colorado is another team that Hilliard feels is moving in the right direction. "They are definitely up-and-coming," he said. "They've been recruiting me the longest and I have a real good relationship with the coaches there. I really like what they've been able to do.
"Plus they have a real good young running back, Darrell Scott, so it would be pretty exciting competing with him in the backfield."
Hilliard's latest offer came from Washington and he visited Seattle when his team traveled to the Northwest to play in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic. Punahou ended up beating Central Kitsap 42-19 and Hilliard says he loved his experience at U-Dub.
"I love it there," Hilliard said. "We really didn’t want to go back to Hawaii because we liked it so much. The stadium is huge and the practice facilities were amazing. I loved the weather too - it was perfect. We got to tour the campus and everything and saw the city. It's a beautiful place."
Holding back the Huskies at this point are their early on-the-field struggles and rumors of a possible coaching switch. "With how the season is going, I really hope they can pick it up," he said. "I know the blogs are all saying that coach Tyrone Willingham is gonna get fired and I hope that's not true. I'd like to play for coach W. He's actually friends with my high school coach too. I just want to see what's going to happen with them."
But Hilliard insists he isn't basing his recruiting on wins and losses. "For me it's really all about the coaches," he stated. "I'm a military kid, so I've lived all over. The coaches are real important and that's why I want to try and develop a good relationship with them first."
He says he will take all five official visits before making his decision in either December or January.
Hilliard says he wants to major in civil engineering and reports a 3.4 core GPA and a 1610 SAT.