Wyoming’s Brian Hill became the latest St. Louisan to reach the NFL on Saturday.
While the team that many of them grew up following departed the city over a year ago, quite a few St. Louis area natives have put the NFL back into the local stream of consciousness this weekend as they’ve been selected in the NFL Draft. Wyoming running back Brian Hill, a native of Belleville, Illinois who attended Belleville West High School, was one of those players, getting selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 12th pick of the fifth round (156th overall).
Hill was the second Belleville native to be taken in this year’s draft, following Tennessee Titans first-rounder Adoree’ Jackson, who attended Belleville East for a year before moving to California. He was the third St. Louis area native to come off the board, following Jackson and Michigan wide receiver Jehu Chesson, who attended Ladue High School and was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday.
Hill pretty clearly defied the odds more than any of the other St. Louisans who have been selected in this year’s draft. He was listed as a safety coming out of high school, and he was rated as a two-star prospect by Rivals and was unrated by ESPN. Obviously, he wasn’t too highly regarded by college coaches, either, as he had to attend a lower-tier Mountain West school.
The 6-foot, 220-pound back had a prolific career with the Cowboys, though, running for over 1,000 yards over his last two collegiate seasons and putting together an absolutely dominant 2016 campaign, rushing 349 times for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns. Hill, who declared for the draft after his junior season, finished his collegiate career with 775 rushes for 4,287 yards and 35 touchdowns, as well as 41 receptions for 403 yards.
Hill will join another St. Louis area native, defensive end Adrian Clayborn (Webster Groves High School), in Atlanta.