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Doc Five: Top five offensive players poised for a comeback in 2014 - No. 3 - Austin Hill

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

The San Antonio Spurs suffered an absolutely devastating loss in the 2013 NBA Finals. After taking a 3-2 series lead, the Spurs were up five points and were just 28 seconds away from winning it all in Game 6. Improbably, the Heat came back to win in overtime, forcing Game 7. The Spurs struggled to rebound from the crushing Game 6 defeat, and the Heat prevailed in Game 7 behind 37 points from LeBron James.

It was a different story this year.

In a Final rematch, it took just five games for the Spurs to dominate the Heat and win the franchise’s fifth title in 15 years on Sunday night.

The Spurs’ impressive rebound got us thinking for this week’s Doc Five. What players who suffered considerable setbacks in 2013 could be prime candidates to come back strong in 2014?

We'll start with the offensive side of the ball.


No. 3: Austin Hill, WR, Arizona

With an open quarterback competition, the Arizona coaches may not know who will be delivering the passes this fall just yet, but they sure will be happy to have Austin Hill back on the receiving end of those passes.

After being a modest contributor with 21 catches as a redshirt freshman in 2011, Hill burst onto the scene for the Wildcats in 2012. He quickly established himself as Matt Scott’s favorite target, surpassing the 100-yard mark in the first two games of the season. Hill continued to haul in passes in bunches and had his coming out party in week eight with 10 catches for 259 yards in a win over USC.

For the season as a whole, Hill caught 81 passes for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns, culminating with an eight catch, 175-yards and two touchdowns performance in a New Mexico Bowl win for the Wildcats, who ended their season 8-5.

Hill was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist and earned second team all-Pac 12 honors. He was poised to surpass those numbers in 2013 – his redshirt junior season – until he tore his ACL in spring practice.

The injury ended his season before it even began.

An injury of that severity is tough for anyone to handle, and Hill admitted as much to The Daily Wildcat in April. But with his knee now at 100 percent, a reflective Hill viewed the injury in a different like. While standing with his coaches on the sidelines, he saw things from a different perspective and he thinks that has made him a smarter receiver.

“It gave me a coach’s perspective. Everything (receivers) coach (Tony) Dews was saying was becoming true,” Hill said. “’Oh, he’s not sticking this route, oh, he’s not doing this on this route.’ I got to see everything I was doing wrong too.”

Without Hill, senior quarterback B.J. Denker spread the ball around to many different options. Terrence Miller is off to the NFL, but 5-foot-7 Nate Phillips (51 catches, 696 yards, 7 TDs) and 5-foot-9 Samajie Grant (47 catches, 373 yards, 1 TD), both sophomores, return. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds though, Hill will provide some much needed size and strength for the Wildcats receiving corps. He is a guy who can get the tough yards through traffic and after the catch.

If Arizona, coming off a dominating bowl game win over Boston College and an 8-5 overall season, wants to elevate from the middle of the pack in the Pac-12, Hill is going to be a guy they’ll rely on. An inexperienced quarterback needs a security blanket and a healthy Hill is the perfect candidate to fill that role.

For more Arizona news, visit

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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