Boston College tailback Jon Hilliman will be running from his past when the Eagles take on UMass on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
That's because UMass middle linebacker Shane Huber, who had nine tackles, five of them solo, in a 24-7 loss to Florida last week, and Hilliman were high school teammates at St. Peters Prep in Jersey City, N.J. BC junior wide receiver Charlie Callinan and senior tight end Michael Giacone also played with Huber at St. Peters.
Hilliman, the Eagles' featured tailback, rushed for over 100 yards for the fifth time in his career in the 17-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC opener. Hilliman, a redshirt sophomore, led all ball carriers with 103 yards on 17 carries, including a 73-yard touchdown run.
Redshirt sophomore RB Jon Hilliman started off his 2016 with a career-long, 73-yard TD run https://t.co/9suG16rMfV— BC Football (@BCFootball) September 3, 2016
Hilliman will have to earn his yards against a UMass defense that held up for three quarters in a 24-7 road loss to Florida.
"It is a good defense and it's a very inspired defense," Hilliman said following a soggy practice yesterday at Alumni Stadium. "They play tough and their middle linebacker was my teammate in high school. We are always talking, and they are very bummed out about losing to Florida but they are coming back hungry. We are pretty pissed off about losing to Georgia Tech so we are coming out hungry.
"So it's going to be a physical high-energy game for four quarters, and it's going to be fun," he added.
The two friends from adversarial positions engaged in hours of hard hitting "fun" in practice at St. Peters. The give and take with Huber helped make Hillman an All-State tailback and the first in school history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season.
"He's a year older and we were (opposites in position) in practice and it was a good battle back and forth a lot of times," Hilliman said. "There were a lot of chippies and a lot of fights but that's my dude, Shane's my guy. I would stay over his house on weekends in high school because he (lived) really close. I almost got him to come here but something happened in the recruiting. But he's phenomenal and I can't wait to play against him."
Hilliman sat out most of spring ball recovering from surgery to repair a broken foot suffered last season. He went back to work fulltime in training camp and felt no apprehension about facing hostile opposition for the first time in just under a year.
"It was really fun and a game day atmosphere is what you live for," Hilliman said. "You work all week to go out and have a great production in the game, and I love football and I love to play the game."
The Eagles have a diverse stable of running backs that include senior scatbacks Myles Willis, Tyler Rouse and sophomore Richard Wilson. The 6-foot, 229-pound Hilliman understands his role.
"I have a workhorse mentality and our backs can a do a lot of things," Hilliman said. "I try to be the workhorse who can keep the chains moving on short yardage and break home runs when I have to. I try to be that dynamic big back."
This article was written by Rich Thompson from Boston Herald and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.