When it comes to producing division one football prospects, few programs in the state of Michigan are as proficient at it as Detroit Cass Tech. Over the years the Technicians have proven particularly adept at developing corners. The latest in a long line of standouts at the position is 2017 four-star defensive back LaVert Hill. The word is definitely out on his “next man up” status, as evidenced by the barbs aimed at him during his team’s season-opening win over Oak Park.
“People were trash talking a lot,” Hill said with a smile. “There is a little bit of pressure (following in the footsteps of so many talented guys), but they said I got to keep working and everything comes from there. Just play hard.”
That’s exactly what he did last Friday, and Detroit Cass Tech defensive coordinator Jermaine Crowell definitely took notice. His young protégé gave up a few plays on the night, but still managed showed flashes of his outstanding potential.
“He gave up a post that should have been squeezed two to one,” Crowell said. LaVert was where he was supposed to have been, because he was over the top of it and the safety should have been underneath it. We should have gotten a two on one squeeze on it, but the safety just kind of left him on his own. (Hill) should have made the tackle. I wouldn’t have been so mad about the completion, but he should have made the tackle. He got a few (pass interference calls), but those (pass interference calls) I thought were good coverage. I don’t want the guy catching the ball. I want him walled out and the guy was painted on his hip and we teach that. I’m going to get with the referees and ask exactly what it is. I think maybe he didn’t get his head back around fast enough or whatever. He’s going to be the best.”
That’s high praise from the coach that helped mold Webb, Jourdan Lewis, and a host of others into college prospects. When asked to elaborate, Crowell didn’t flinch.
“First, I’m a better coach than I was when I had those guys,” he said laughingly. “JD (i.e. Lewis) was just a natural athlete… a super freakish athlete. Vert is more of a freakish athlete than JD. He’s faster than JD and he can jump as high as JD. Then Webb was just an attention to detail guy. He was always learning new techniques, soaking up knowledge. If Vert gets confidence, because he’s not really an overconfident guy being his first year starting, but by the middle of the year he’ll be really good.”
College coaches appear to agree, as the talented youngster has already racked up offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Miami, and a host of others. He’s is already more heavily recruited than his big bother, current Michigan safety Delano Hill. Little brother insists that’s how it should be. There is definitely a sibling rivalry between the two, but they put that to the side when talking recruiting.
“He just told me to stay open and make your decision at your senior season,” Hill said. “I don’t have a favorite right now. I’m just still enjoying the process. Everyone is even right now.”
That said, he is certainly most familiar with the Wolverines. He made his way back to Ann Arbor again last weekend for Michigan’s 52-14 dismissal of Appalachian State. When asked if his brother’s presence in Ann Arbor elevates the Maize & Blue in his eyes he relented from his wide open stance just a bit.
“It did a little bit because he go there and I know somebody that goes there,” said Hill.
In the end there will be other more substantive factors that determine his collegiate destination.
“Academics… that’s the most (important) part,” he said. “Plus my relationship with the coaches are and that’s it.”
“They always start off wanting to go far away,” Crowell later added. “I just watched Mike Weber and all those guys thinking, ‘yeah I don’t want to stay in-state… I don’t want to stay in-state.’ The closer it gets to time to sign they start thinking about leaving their mommas. Then it’s, ‘I don’t know coach, that’s kind of far.’ That’s why we take them on those long trips. Let’s see if this is what you really want. Let’s see this campus. Do you see how far this is? Oh you’re momma won’t be up here every week. Once they start figuring that kind of thing out, they start thinking closer and closer to home. I remember Webb went down to LSU, ‘Yeah I loved it down there coach’. I’m like okay. Come his senior year he was saying, ‘I don’t know coach that’s kind of far’.”
“(Hill) talks that stuff now, but I think (the biggest factor) is going to be momma. It’s always the moms. They all say they want to get away from mom, nobody really ever wants to leave mom.”