The 90 Illini #16: STEVEHULL August 16, 2012
6′-2″, 200 lbs.
Junior (on scholarship, 2 years to play 2)
Sycamore HS / Cincinnati, Ohio
ALE Ranking last year: #27
ALE Ranking in 2010: #44
What I Know About Him:
When Supo Sanni went down with a ruptured Achilles a few weeks before the 2010 season, Hull switched from offense to defense. And then he was out there in the first series against Missouri two weeks later, making a few big plays in the first quarter. I know that Vic Koenning liked him for his discipline – give him his assignments, and he will make the correct reads and be in the right spot almost every time.
And Hull was really good at the beginning of last year. Had a great Arizona State game, had a great Indiana game (with something like 9 tackles and an interception). But then a back injury derailed his season. He missed 2 or 3 games, missed the bowl game, and then a shoulder surgery kept him out of most of the summer workouts. And then he was wearing a green no-contact jersey in Rantoul. So his health will determine just how much he plays this year.
What I Expect From Him:
If he’s healthy, I expect a return to his early 2011 play. A lot of playing safety in college is on-the-field experience. You can teach all the reads you want, but you have to get out there and play before you can get a feel for it. So a healthy Hull would really help solidify this defense.
But if he’s not healthy, expect a year-long battle with Earnest Thomas for the starting spot. I’m really hoping Hull is healthy, because I’d rather have this be a get-your-feet-wet year for Thomas, not a get-burned-on-play-action year. Ideally, Hull would start with Sanni this year and likely Earnest Thomas next year before handing off the reins to one of the young guys.