STARKVILLE – Growing up in Crawford, Brandon Hill watched as former West Lowndes running back Keffer McGee rose to stardom at Mississippi State.
When Hill was 6 years old, he found out his hero tragically passed away in a drowning incident in 1997 in what would have been McGee’s senior season in Starkville. Twelve years later, Hill vowed to finish McGee’s story at Mississippi State when he became Dan Mullen’s first commitment of the 2010 recruiting class.
That pledge came one step closer to reality as Hill, now a junior tight end, made his first career start against Oklahoma State this past weekend.
“It means a little more to me being from so close to here,” Hill said. “I understand what is going on around me. If I need to do extra things like playing more special teams, I’ll do whatever they want me to do to help.”
Hill has primarily been a role player during his career for the Bulldogs appearing in 26 games and catching seven passes for 64 yards. With State eliminating the fullback role in its offense, the tight end position has added new tasks and should add more production for Hill this fall.
“We’ve always felt that we had a talented group and wanted opportunities,” Hill said. “Now that the opportunity is here we’re trying to utilize it and make the most of it.”
Hill, along with fellow junior Malcolm Johnson, combined to make five catches for 70 yards in the season opener. However, MSU’s offense sputtered on third down situations converting just 2-of-16 against the Cowboys.
But Hill was encouraged by the way the Bulldogs moved the football early on.
“When we watched film, we did a lot of good things,” Hill said. “I’m excited to know that we are a very talented team. We’ve just got to clean up on our mistakes.”
Hill does not expect the offensive script to alter much on Saturday with sophomore Dak Prescott expected to make his first career start at quarterback due to Tyler Russell’s concussion.
“It shouldn’t change much because he’s got the same weapons as Tyler pretty much,” Hill said. “He’s just a little bit more physical running the ball. They are pretty much tit for tat.”
As is the case in many small high schools, Hill did a little bit of everything for West Lowndes.
Hill lined up at wide receiver, tight end, defensive end and linebacker for the Panthers and earned scholarship offers from MSU and Arkansas as a two-star prospect.
Initially, Hill was signed as a wide receiver but he quickly began transforming his 6-foot-3, 208-pound body into becoming a tight end.
“I’ve put on about 40-pounds over the course of these three years,” Hill said. “I put on the most during my freshman year when I blossomed up to about 230. Since then I’ve slowly been stacking it on to whatever helps me be more mobile.
Between 240 and 245 is where I feel more athletic and powerful.”