02/08/07 — Rosewood senior signs with Campbell

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Rosewood senior signs with Campbell

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 8, 2007 2:38 PM

An extra year to adapt to the college football game and become part of a historical rebirth?

Jeremy Hill might still think it's a dream. But the Rosewood High senior turned those aspirations into reality Wednesday afternoon when he signed a national letter-of-intent with Campbell University.

Campbell officials announced their intentions of fielding a football team, after a 50-year hiatus, last spring. The university disbanded its football team due to the Korean Conflict and the movement of several North Carolina schools to senior college status in the 1950s.

"I liked it because I knew everything would be fresh and easier to learn more at my pace," said Hill, who played right tackle and punter for the Eagles. "The small-school atmosphere is more like home to me."

Campbell will not play football in 2007 and every player will gain redshirt status under NCAA guidelines. The Fighting Camels will hit the gridiron as a non-scholarship Division I-AA program in 2008 and open the season Aug. 30 against Birmingham Southern.

Until then, players under head coach Dale Steele's watchful eye will spend every day lifting weights and toiling through conditioning drills to help prepare for the rigors of the college game. Steele's philosophy, says Hill, is comparable to Rosewood head coach Daniel Barrow, who stresses the importance of physical and mental preparation.

"You knew you were always ready for Friday night," said Hill.

Barrow used three characteristics to describe Hill -- consistency, great team player and athleticism. Hill, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound lineman at Rosewood, never lost his wits regardless the direction the game flowed, always had a positive word to offer his teammates and handled his position with poise.

"Being a good athlete will serve him well," said Barrow.

Hill believes he can adapt to college football.

"I believe it will be a step up," said Hill. "(The biggest change will be) different techniques of the defense, learning their ways as opposed to high school; and different techniques of the offense to learn on my part."

Hill, admittedly, will miss the Friday-night atmosphere surrounding Rosewood football. The community-oriented event always brought out friends and family, with football an integral part of the weekly festivities.

The soft-spoken son of Fred Hill and Kim Lane, Jeremy isn't sure what kind of tradition he'll help establish at Campbell. Steele plans to instill one tradition -- players will take a little bit of water from Buies Creek with them wherever they go and sprinkle it on the opponent's field.

"Maybe I can introduce a few traditions of my own," grinned Hill.

Campbell's 2008 schedule is incomplete. University officials have petitioned to join the Pioneer League -- an eight-member conference that stretches from the east to west coast. It's currently comprised of Davidson, Jacksonville (Fla.), Valparaiso, Butler, Dayton, Drake, Morehead State and San Diego.

San Diego defeated Monmouth (N.J.) College 27-7 in the inaugural Gridiron Classic, a bowl game for non-scholarship I-AA programs, a year ago.