PITTSBURGH — With Steel Valley prepping for its PIAA Class 2A semifinal against Wilmington this weekend, its biggest star made headlines early Wednesday morning.
Senior linebacker and fullback Todd Hill announced via Twitter he was de-committing from Howard University. The news comes in the wake of head coach Mike London’s departure for William & Mary last week. Hill is widely regarded as one of the WPIAL’s most physical players.
As with many of these coaching changes, Hill told PSN he learned about the London news on social media.
“I didn’t know until I checked social media and I really haven’t talked to him,” Hill said.
London spent two years at Howard but cited family reasons and his father’s health as motivation for taking the William & Mary gig in an interview with The Undefeated.
Under London, the Bison staff had spent a significant amount of time recruiting the WPIAL. Hill was one of three area players to have verbally committed to the school along with the Penn Hills’ duo of Hollis Mathis and Terry Smith, and four players on the current roster hail from Western Pennsylvania.
Hill said the uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff was the main reason for re-opening his recruitment.
“I just feel like I’m a little clueless about the staff leaving,” Hill admitted. “One of the reasons I was going to Howard was because of the staff, and I also feel like I could have more opportunities.”
Both Robert Morris and Duquesne have been in touch recently with the Steel Valley star, and the Dukes’ playoff win over Towson caught Hill’s attention. Although he was committed, Hill said he has considered playing close to home, but ultimately, the decision will come down to what “school shows him the most love.”
When PSN profiled Hill back in September as one of the WPIAL’s top players, he said he was proud to be committed to a historical black college and university (HBCU), making his decision Wednesday even tougher.
“Yeah, it’s a little difficult,” Hill claimed. “But I can get through it. I just have to keep working, and I would consider others for sure.”
Hill will now turn his attention to Wilmington and an opportunity to return to the state title game. Steel Valley advanced to the semifinals by defeating South Side, 48-6, in the WPIAL Class 2A championship bout last Saturday. The 5-foot-10, 226-pound back ran for 118 yards and three scores in the victory, helping the Ironmen to their fifth overall WPIAL title and second in the last three years.
“It was really special because I won my senior year,” Hill said of championship. “We proved that we could do it without a stacked team.”
Steel Valley rosters just 17 players and some are calling its postseason run one of the best Pittsburgh sports stories of the year. Hill was a sophomore on the Ironmen team that won the 2016 PIAA title. Coincidently, that team also played Wilmington in the semifinals.
“I’m expecting them to come out and give it their all,” Hill said of Friday’s opponent.
The two teams will meet at Ambridge High School and that’s Hill’s primarily focus at the moment.
“I’m just staying focused on the football season right now and being patient,” Hill said.