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Northwestern football 2017 National Signing Day profiles: Safety Austin Hiller

Hiller’s a rangy safety from Texas and a state champion.

@austinhiller_ on Twitter

Quick Hits

POSITION: Safety

HEIGHT: 6-foot-1

WEIGHT: 200

HOMETOWN: Austin, TX

HIGH SCHOOL: Lake Travis

247 COMPOSITE SCORE: .8465

NATIONAL RANKING: 912

POSITION RANK: 68

STATE RANK: 120

OTHER OFFERS: Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Pennsylvania, SMU, Texas State, Tulsa

MORE: 247 profile | Hudl | Twitter

Background

Hiller is the sixth-highest defensive recruit in Northwestern’s 2017 class, and was the seventh player to commit back in March 2016. Hiller’s Texas high school Lake Travis actually won state this past fall. He joins J.R. Pace and fellow Texan Bryce Jackson as the one of the classes’ three safeties. He also has a great academic background, as you can see from some of his other offers, and compliments that with a solid 6-foot-1, 200 pound build.

Hiller is able to play both free safety and more downhill, which is a major plus and provides flexibility. He has a nice mix of both coverage and big hits in his tape and it will be interesting to see how he develops as he builds even more muscle. He’s also very fast, with a 4.55 40-yard dash, which allows him to correct for errors and run down receivers from behind. He also has some great special teams tape, which is certainly something that can get you on the field quickly at Northwestern. He has blocked punts, blocked field goals and even tackles on kickoff coverage.

The biggest questions moving forward are, of course, adapting to no longer being physically superior to most of the competition, and executing more complex coverage schemes. The first problem will obviously be addressed in the weight room, and as for coverages, luckily for Hiller, he’s got a great safety to learn from in Godwin Igwebuike.

Outlook

With both Igwebuike and Kyle Queiro coming back for there senior seasons, starting safety is pretty much locked down, but that absolutely does not mean a guaranteed redshirt for Hiller. As we saw last year, sometimes defensive back is an all hands on deck type of position, and anything can happen. Also, Hiller’s special team prowess will undoubtedly win him a special place in Pat Fitzgerald’s heart, and that may be the first time we see him on the field in 2017.