Sunday, May 22, 2011

San Diego State Aztecs: What Can RB Ronnie Hillman Do For an Encore?

For those of you who do not bother to watch a small little school in a sleepy town on the west coast, you might be missing one of the best running backs in the country. A guy no one is talking about, except for those who get to watch him week in and week out.

San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman put on a true freshman performance the football program has not seen since another freshman star, Marshall Faulk, wore the Aztec black and red.

Ronnie Hillman Running back Ronnie Hillman #13 of the San Deigo State Aztecs carries the ball on a five yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Utah Utes at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Diego, California.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
While his very first game of his college career wasn't anything to write home about, the following week against New Mexico State was his coming out party.

Ronnie Hillman, a true freshman last season, ran for 150 yards and four touchdowns. Prompting many in San Diego to wonder aloud, "who is this guy?"

The following week, against the Missouri Tigers, Hillman decided to put on his best show of his young career. He rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns coming on runs of 93 and 75 yards respectively. It even made Faulk, a San Diego State legend, to give the young running back props. “I like Ronnie Hillman. He has game-breaking ability. He’s good, man; he’s really good," Faulk told Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union Tribune.

If people had not learned the name, Ronnie Hillman, they were slowly learning who this young running back was.

At 5-foot-10 and and 175 pounds, Hillman has tremendous speed in the open field and once he gets past the secondary he is almost impossible to catch. But it's not just his speed that defenses have a problem with. If a safety decided to go one-on-one with him, he may as well stand still and let Hillman just run on by because he is not an easy guy to bring down.

Hillman can bounce to the outside as well as run through the tackles. Once past the defensive line, his quick feet allow him to change direction or spin around defenders.

When the 2010 season came to an end, Hillman had rushed for 1,464 yards and 17 touchdowns. How man true freshmen do you know who can pull off those kind of numbers?

Just when you thought Hillman was done showing off, he left his best performance for last. In the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl, the Aztec star rushed for 226 yards, shattering the previous bowl record of 129 yards set by Navy's Adam Ballard back in 2005.

If he put up these kind of numbers as a true freshman, what could he possibly do for an encore in 2011?

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