It is an annual rite of passage for those eager to see the future of the program. Many fans will likely attempt testing Einstein’s theories of time travel with their minds, as will the high school student-athletes putting their pens to paper.
For all interested parties, the day these young prospects don the blue-and-gold can’t come soon enough.
But one member of this year’s class already made that happen.
Defensive back Dominique Hill became the first early enrollee in program history at the start of the spring semester after graduating early from Mansfield High School in December.
With the early start to his college career, Hill will be eligible to participate in spring practice with the Cowboys, giving him an edge in preparation on his incoming freshman classmates.
In theory, that should increase Hill’s chances of hitting the field without redshirting his freshman season.
“I think coming in at spring, to go through those 15 days, would have to help you,” said McNeese head coach Matt Viator.
Viator does not speak from experience. This is his first time dealing with an early enrollee. But from what he can see, Hill is mature enough to handle college life while most of his friends figure out what to wear for prom.
“This is unchartered territory for us. We offered him last spring not knowing his intentions (to graduate early),” Viator said. “But what impressed me about him is he had a plan. He set forth to graduate, and did what he had to do. He set through it with flying colors. It certainly seems like he can handle the move.”
Hill’s high school coach, Glen Hall, isn’t surprised.
“Dominque has more of a mentality past his age,” Hall said. “He grew up in a football family. His mind is so much more advanced than the guys he played with. He’s been working at college-level classes since 10th grade.”
This is not just an off-the-field asset.
“It was great for me to have because he was my coach on the field. He would come tell us things that would work against different defenses and offenses,” Hall said. “You would swear he’s been looking at film for 20 years.”
Hill, who had a 3.8 grade point average, is more than a brainiac.
He started at defensive back throughout high school, played wide receiver as a junior, then was switched to quarterback as a senior because he was his team’s best available option.
“We just think he’s a great athlete,” Viator said. “We’re going to play him at defensive back, but we easily could have signed him at receiver. He has ability at the return game too. He’s really versatile.”
Hall believes his pupil will fit no matter where he is put.
“He could be a shutdown corner. He’s got the best speed I’ve seen out of a high school cornerback,” Hall said. “At free safety, he can read everything a quarterback does. He’s a great tackler. He can do anything in the secondary. Everybody should be looking forward to having him.”