Tyreek Hill burst onto the national track scene with a blistering time of 20.14 seconds in the 200-meter dash.
Photo by Ralph Epifanio/FLRUNNERS.COM
One day's performance in the humid, 90-degree heat of Orlando, Fla., has
changed the life of previously unknown Tyreek Hill, a recent graduate
of Coffee (Douglas, Ga.)
sculptured 5-foot-9, 170-pounder took the 36th Golden South Classic by
storm when he won the 200-meter dash in a blistering 20.14 seconds - No.
2 all-time - after tying the 2012 national-best 100 time of 10.19 in
His coach, Jerry Hill (no relation), told
MaxPreps, "Within 30 minutes after the (200) race, I had 16 phone calls
and 22 text messages. It was kind of crazy. I had people from all over
the country ask me 'Where is Coffee High School?' It generated a lot of
buzz for our school."
Also a standout running back and wide
receiver, Hill had received an offer to play football at Garden
City Community College in Kansas. But now his horizons have widened.
Hill emphasized, "He's a phenomenal football player, but he's an
exceptional track performer. In my opinion, he's more (talented) in
Tyreek Hill revealed that he recently received track
scholarship offers from Florida State and LSU. Georgia, which offered
for track and football, "has been hanging around for awhile," he added.
"As of right now, I'm just looking at which one will take me the
farthest. Right now it might be track."
The muscular youngster,
who can run 40 yards in a blazing 4.32 seconds and can bench press 345
pounds, has enormous potential because he has participated in track for
just two and a half years. He has played football from a very young
age and just came out for track in the middle of his sophomore year
because some of his buddies asked him to run on a relay.
When he was 7 years old, Tyreek was playing Pop Warner football with 10-year-olds in Pearson, Ga.
noted, "Once I knew I was faster than anybody, I really enjoyed it. We
moved to Douglas when I was in ninth grade. I was from a very small town
and there weren't very many scouts."
In his first football
game on the freshman team, Tyreek accounted for two touchdowns and more than 100 receiving yards during a wild three-overtime victory against
Valdosta. He played sparingly on the varsity team as a sophomore.
Ken Eldridge, who now is an assistant at Valdosta, explained that
Tyreek didn't make all the summer workouts and that kept him from seeing
more action. He quickly added, "That probably was the best thing
that ever happened to him, because he didn't miss a thing the next two
years and he was a complete team player after that. As a senior (when
the top two quarterbacks were injured) he stepped up and became a
leader. At one point he was scoring every fourth time he touched the
Eldridge praised his former star's great competitive spirit.
related, "If you want to see how good of a competitor a kid is, put him
in the weight room. He hates to lose. A kid benched 310 pounds. He just
jumps up there and ends up getting 315. He can squat 500 and power
clean 315. He's nothing but one muscle.
"A lot of guys have
track speed, but can't translate it to the football field. His speed
does translate. In my opinion, he's probably the best overall football
player to play at Coffee. He can run, catch, block - there's nothing he
During his brief track baptism as a sophomore, Tyreek
(running the third leg) helped the 4x100 relay finish fifth in the Class
5A state meet. His best times were 11 seconds in the 100 and 22 seconds
in the 200.
"I thought I could do better," he said. "I was raw."
As a junior, he placed second in the state 100 with a 10.8 clocking. A pulled muscle kept him from placing in the 200.
had a major upheaval in its coaching staff this year and Jerry Hill,
who was an assistant in football, was asked to take over as head track
coach. He first asked Tyreek if he was running track this spring, then he eagerly took the job.
this year, he was still raw," Jerry Hill said. "He has so much power.
What I tried to do this year was to refine his technique. We built his
200 off his 100. The 200 is the better race for him. Last year he
hated running it. Obviously, the 100 is pure power. I had to convince
him if he worked hard enough, he'd be great in the 200, too. He was
taking a big first step off the blocks (and wobbling slightly). I always
tell him to take five short steps, then rise up and do what you do."
He added the long jump this year because one day his coach asked him to try it and he soared 22 feet with ease.
spring's Class 5A state meet put Tyreek on the Georgia map with his
first three gold medals. He had the best sprint double in state history
with wins in the 100 (10.44) and 200 (a record 20.94). He also won the
long jump at 23-11 and had he not jumped 8 inches behind the takeoff
board he probably would have broken that state record, too.
"It feels really good," he said. "Hard work - that's all I've got to say."
Georgia fame was fine, but the Golden South brought national acclaim.
Hill told his young protege that the 100 would be his toughest race
because it included Florida superstars Wayne Bracy and his cousin,
Levonte Whitfield, a junior.
"That's one race you won't have to look back," he noted.
smoked his preliminary heat in 10.19, which tied for the 2012 national
best, but Whitfield, the defending champion, won the finals in 10.38.
Despite a slight cramp in his left leg, he was timed in 10.41.
Out came more pickle juice.
Hill explained, "You won't find a better cramp relief than pickle
juice. Before the 200 finals I rubbed it (the cramp) out and (gave him)
more pickle juice. I challenged his manhood. I said he couldn't win the
race and was done for the day. He was just like a pit bull."
Tyreek ran a perfect race. He shot out of the blocks and was flying at 85 meters.
"He looked like an antelope," Jerry Hill described.
the phenomenal time of 20.14 was announced, fans and media members
quickly descended upon the youngster and his coach was on the way to
shield him from the sudden attention. That's been one of his main jobs
"If I keep working, I can go further," Tyreek predicted.
That hard work paid dividends when he was named Georgia Track Athlete of the Year by the Atlanta Track Club.
get another major opportunity on Saturday when he runs in the adidas
Dream 100 in New York City. He'll be facing the likes of Whitfield and
Bracy (who scratched at the Golden South) and Texas star Abraham Hall,
who also has run 10.19.
After that it will be the trials in Bloomington, Ind., for a trip to Barcelona, Spain.
Tyreek, who started his senior year with career bests of 10.75 and 21.89, continues to improve by leaps and bounds. That's because he never stops giving 100 percent effort.
Hill revealed that during practice sessions, "Sometimes I have to help
him off the track. Just he and I are out there. I had to walk him back
into the training room and put ice on him. He has an impeccable work
ethic. He's the greatest athlete to ever play at this school."
His potential appears to be unlimited.
Hill believes, "He's faster than 10.19 and 20.14. I don't know his
limit yet. I've got a couple of things to fine-tune. You can't teach
speed and he's got plenty of it."