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Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams bonding in the middle of the D-line
Seattle Seahawks players will have the chance to share the causes that are important to them during all Week 13 games, as part of the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats campaign. Defensive end Cliff Avril, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, tight end Jimmy Graham, cornerback Richard Sherman, and quarterback Russell Wilson all chose to participate, personalizing their footwear to help tell their stories. View
Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill are a long way from home. All of them.
Williams is the 326-pound defensive tackle from the University of Alabama who the Seahawks selected in the fifth round of NFL Draft two weeks ago. But he’s originally from Brisbane, Australia, and made a two-year stop at Arizona Western Community College in Yuma before finding his way to Tuscaloosa.
Hill, meanwhile, is the 303-pound defensive tackle from Penn State who the Seahawks drafted in the third round. He was born in Harrisburg, Penn., and played at Steelton-Highspire High School before moving on to Happy Valley.
But here they are, anchoring the middle of the D-line at the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp that concludes on Sunday with a morning practice, and bonding quickly in the process as roommates for the weekend.
Added Hill, “At the combine, we were talking at 4 in the morning while we were doing one of our testings. We were laughing about that. And Penn State and Alabama in a lot of ways are similar, in the types of programs and how they were run – very old school. So we talk about that, too.”
As for their contributions on the field, Williams has quicker feet than you might expect for a player of his size. He displayed that Saturday by exploding through the line to arrive at running back Derrick Coleman just as he was taking the handoff. Hill has more bulk, especially in his lower body, than advertised. And he flaunted that Saturday by collapsing the intended hole before running back Christine Michael could get to it.
All of this has defensive coordinator Dan Quinn smiling after two practices and a couple of walkthroughs.
“One, they’re willing to do the work and the questions that they ask, it’s exactly what you’re looking for,” Quinn said. “I also like the mindset and the attitude, and you can also see a connection starting between those guys.
“The thing I really like about both of them is their mature approach, exactly like you’d like from your D-tackles. It’s a dirty job, and they accept it.”
At this camp, however, it’s been Williams at nose tackle and Hill at the three-technique – or even vice versa – in the middle of the line with the No. 1 defense as Quinn is looking to develop versatility as well as depth.
“We’re going to play them at a couple of different spots and see who can play end, who can play tackle, who can play nose,” Quinn said. “They’ll fill various roles for us. I just want guys to know two or three jobs. That way when it’s time to do that, there’s not that, ‘Well, I haven’t done that before.’
“That adds not only value to you as a player, but really it increases competition across the board.”
Pressure? It’s all relative. You can just imagine what last season was like for Hill at Penn State.
“It helped me grow as a man,” said Hill, who graduated last weekend. “Those are life lessons that I’ll take away for the rest of my life. When I start a family, have kids, I’ll be able to tell them what I’ve been through and it’s a lesson for them, too.”
“I try not to think about it like that,” Williams said when presented with the carrying-the-hopes-of-a-continent-on-his-broad-shoulders scenario. “It’s good to have the support of my country, especially the prime minister. The government is always good to have on my side if you’re trying to get back in the country.”
Especially when you’re so far away from home and trying to make a new home for yourself. Read