Rich Rodriguez said today at his weekly news conference that junior wide receiver Austin Hill has been cleared to practice after undergoing ACL surgery in May.
Hill, who led the UA with 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, put on cleats for the first time two weeks ago and now starting tomorrow, will begin participating in individual drills with the rest of the wide receivers.
He tore the ACL in his left knee during spring drills in April.
“His doctor from back home cleared him to take that next step,” Rodriguez said today. “I don’t know what that means as far as his availability of when he will play yet. He’s been out there running around with the trainers most of the time. Starting this week, he’ll be doing some with Coach (Tony) Dews.
“That’s good to see.”
Hill redshirted in 2010 as a true freshman, meaning he likely couldn’t get a medical redshirt season if he missed this entire year. So in other words, when the receiver is ready to go, Rodriguez expects to put him in the lineup.
“If he can come back at the end of this year or next year, you’re talking about a guy that’s one of the best in the league as far as catching the ball and understanding the coverages and where to go and ball skills,” Rodriguez said. “Austin has worked really, really hard and he looks great.
“Whenever we get him back, whenever that is, I think he’ll be an even better player.”
It still sounds like the Corona, Calif., native is a ways away from being cleared to play in games, but it’s certainly a significant step for Rodriguez and the Wildcats.
“Cleared to practice and do individual is not the same as cleared for a game,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t make those decisions. The trainers and the doctors do. He’s bigger and stronger than he’s ever been and I think he’ll be faster.”