Trip Report: Dalton Hilliard
Dalton Hilliard (© Barry Markowitz, 2008)
Dalton Hilliard (© Barry Markowitz, 2008)
Northwest Recruiting Analyst
Posted Oct 20, 2008

When Dalton Hilliard was going through the early stages of the recruiting process, he visited UCLA unofficially. It was nice, but there was something hanging in the air. With a new coaching staff in place, there was some uncertainty; what was it going to be like? Where was the program headed? What was their vision for the future?

He got all those questions answered, and then some on his official visit with the Bruins this past weekend.

"It went good," the 6-foot, 193-pound athlete from the Punahou School in Honolulu told Monday afternoon. "I got in Saturday, got to the hotel, went to the game and hung out with the players. I loved it. It was awesome. I loved the atmosphere, I love UCLA and what they have to offer and the direction the program is heading."

Aundre Dean and E.J. Woods were Hilliard's hosts for his visit. "They were awesome," Hilliard said of his player-hosts. "It was funny. We just sat in their dorm rooms a lot and talked about UCLA and the direction they are heading. Talking to all the players, the common phrase they all were using was the fact that the program is getting ready to head in the right direction and how this next class that's coming in is going to really help the program. I'm excited about what they are doing over there."

Hilliard has made his name on the islands by being a versatile skill player on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bruins like what he brings to the table on defense. "They offered me as an athlete because they don't know what side of the ball I'm going to play at," he said. "They told me that I could have the quickest impact at defensive back because they are really, really thin right now at defensive back. This past class they have a lot of redshirt running backs. I told them I'd be willing to compete, but whatever position can get me on the field the quickest is where I'm going to try and go.

"I started playing (defensive back) a lot (this year). I'm definitely comfortable with it, more than when the season started. They (UCLA) has a great coaching staff and whatever position I do play it would be a unique opportunity to be coached by Coach Walker if I do play defensive back, because he's a great coach."

With everything pointing to an incredibly successful visit, Hilliard still has one stop to make before putting the process to bed. "I told (UCLA) that it would be hard to make a commitment on the trip without talking to my parents about it," he said. "After tonight we'll have to sit down and talk about it. We'll see what happens with this (Arizona) visit and hopefully here in the near future I can make a decision."

Hilliard will be tripping to Tucson this coming weekend to see them play USC, and that is expected to be his final official visit. He has already been to UCLA and Nebraska officially, and California, UCLA, Stanford, Colorado, USC, Hawai'i unofficially.

And a leader? "I've always said that I like what UCLA has to offer," Hilliard said. "They've stood out in my mind. But I'm going to keep an open mind as I take my trip to Arizona."

And looking to the future, an ancillary benefit to getting Dalton's signature on a letter of intent might just give some lucky school the inside track when recruiting his younger brother Kamden, a member of the class of 2012. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Kamden is already showing signs of being a player to reckon with for the Buffnblu.

Dalton Hilliard Profile

Related Stories
Hilliard Gets Offer on Visit
 -by  Oct 21, 2008
West Recruiting Notebook
 -by  Oct 23, 2008
Hilliard Done With Visits
 -by  Oct 27, 2008

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