football Edit

Better Know a Badger: Three-Star QB Deacon Hill

Most of Wisconsin's 2021 class -- both for the football and men's basketball programs -- will be heading to Madison shortly, though Paul Chryst's team already welcomed seven players as mid-year enrollees in January. has kicked off its annual "Better Know a Badger" series, where we normally decide to check in with these incoming freshmen as they begin the transition from being prep standouts to college athletes. In 2021, we may include some transfers as well.

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Deacon Hill committed to Wisconsin early during his recruiting journey in June 2019. Since then, the Santa Barbara, Calif., native stayed true to his initial decision and finalized that during the early signing period, even with an offer coming from UCLA last year.

Hill spoke with on May 10 about a variety of topics as the days tick down before his arrival at Wisconsin. Questions and his answers have been edited for clarity.

I know you didn't enroll early because you wanted to participate in your football season as a senior. How did the spring season overall go for you?

DH: It was a little shaky. We went 1-2 but we also had two games canceled, which was pretty disappointing. But I think overall it was a really good learning experience for me. We had a really young team. I think we only had four starters back on offense, and maybe three back on defense, so I think my leadership has grown a lot due to those two months of trying to get everybody ready and prepare everybody and learning my communication skills and all that stuff.

I do think it was better, it was more good than bad. We had our games were full with drops and missed blocks, missed passes. A lot of rustiness you could say, but all in all, I think it was a really good experience, and I definitely needed it going into college.

I know you mentioned growing as a leader, but in what areas do you believe you developed further not just during your senior year but even the past year in general?

DH: I think working on my mobility and being able to make more plays on my feet and just overall footwork. I've been working a lot more of that under center stuff, I think my under center’s grown a lot. So I'd say those parts of my game. Just footwork making plays in my legs and you know, under center game.

Random question here, but to this day, what is the best pass you believe you have ever thrown and why?

DH: That's tough. I got to think back. I think my sophomore year, I had to step in for the city championship game. If we won, we went to playoffs. If we lost, we didn't make it, and our senior quarterback got hurt the game before, and I had to step in for that game. And there was one play where we ran, I think it was four verts, and our outside guy kind of got pressed so our slot [receiver] kind of faded. I think around the 40-yard line, and I think it put it right over the shoulder, back pylon area. I think that was probably one of my best just because what was riding on the game and a perfect spiral.

Either that one or [against] Palm Desert my junior year. Playoff game, we were up by three, and it was 4th-and-11, and we were on the 20 and we decided to go for it on 4th-and-11. We threw a slot fade. The play before, I tweaked my knee up. It was pretty in pain, so I kind of threw it off my back foot, but it got there and he caught it and everybody was celebrating. There was like 25 seconds left so I think that one just because of the thrill of it.

How often are you in contact with Wisconsin with your arrival on campus coming soon, and who are you talking with the most?

DH: I'd say I'm talking with just my class the most. You know, we're all excited to finally get together. Yeah, we're just going to be a lot of fun. I’m probably gonna call [Coach Paul] Chryst later this week. I stay pretty in contact with him.

So overall, I'd say it was pretty good communication with the staff and my class. I'm rooming with Antwan [Roberts] I believe in summer, I think. So I'm just connecting with all them. We're all just super excited to finally get together.

When is the official moving date for you?

DH: I believe it's June 12 [brief pause], 13. June 13 is move-in day.

What is Wisconsin saying about you in terms of anything changing, anything that they're saying when it comes to just how they plan to use you or what what will happen once you get to campus?

DH: The main thing I've just gone over, I've asked like what's the plan during the summer and stuff like that. Coach Chryst has just said he's going to try and prepare me for the fall in the summer, like learning everything. So just trying to get a good grasp of the offense and you know, the motion, cadence, the plays, all of that stuff. So I think just the plan right now is not to look ahead past summer. Just the main focus is summer and trying to learn everything right now.

Have you chatted with the midyear enrollees and what their first semester was like?

DH: Yeah. Like I remember after the first practice, they all said they were dying, so that was pretty funny to hear. But they kind of just give pieces of updates here and there. They said it's a lot of work but it's really fun. It's just hearing everything from them just makes us and me more and more excited to get going.

Then once you get to Wisconsin, what do you feel you can bring to the offense and to the quarterback room?

DH: I'm a student of the game. You know, my life revolves around it. Dedicated, hard worker. I think that I could help with the pass game and all that stuff. I think I learned [from] my head coach here, I learned about reading defenses before we even stepped on the field so I think helping with that. I'm just looking to you know, learn a ton my freshman year, whether it's from Graham [Mertz], Chase [Wolf], Coach Chryst, the rest of the quarterbacks. Just learn a lot and take everything in. So I think just helping be a student of the game, helping others out when I can. I’d say that and just my pass game I think is where my strong stuff [is] at so I think I could help out with that.

This may be a redundant question based off of your last answer, but what are some of the areas that you see yourself improving in once you get to Wisconsin, and what are your goals for your freshman year?

DH: I think my area of improvement is gonna be the mental side of the game. You know, I think Coach Chryst does a really good job with that, and I think just me studying day in, day out. Learning the college defenses, like the hide stuff, rotate, all of that so I think learning all that. Different kind of fronts they run, coverages -- man press, man zone, all that stuff -- I think is gonna be really key for me.

Learning more footwork, play action, all this stuff, it's gonna be pretty new to me because we run spread over here at my high school.

I think my goals for freshman year is just to soak everything in, take every bit of advice, take every bit of information and just study the playbook, remember everything and just kind of lock everything into my brain.