They have an even tougher time tackling him.
A three-year starter at Chelsea (Mich.) High, class-of-2010 running back Nick Hill hides behind his offensive line, looking for holes. The 5-foot-7, 185-pound Hill makes a quick assessment and is usually through the gap and down the field before the defense reacts.
"I think my height is a little bit of an advantage for me," Hill said. "Surprisingly, I can see the defense very well. Even though the linemen are bigger than me, I see them very well, and I know where all the blocks are, I think I'm a smart back, I know I'm a smart back, I know how to study film, and I know where the defense is at."
College programs including Notre Dame, know where Hill is at.
Stanford, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan have already come through with written scholarship offers. Besides the Irish, Hill is also hearing from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Nebraska, UCLA, Oregon, Northwestern, Iowa and Kent State. They all want to hear more from Hill, who rushed for 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore, helping his team to an 11-1 record and the regional championship game.
Irish assistant coach Corwin Brown talks with Hill once a week, and he visited Notre Dame for the Michigan game on Sept. 13th. It was Hill's second time in South Bend. He attended the Michigan State game during the 2007 season.
"I'm hearing from them that they really like me and they want me to come to more games," Hill began. He ran for 950 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman, as Chelsea also saw that season end in the regional championship game. "I went to the Notre Dame-Michigan game a couple weeks ago and they said they want to see more of me. They also want to see my transcript and they want to see more film of me, and they want me to come down earlier for a game so they can sit down and talk to me.
"I like the school a lot, and they're not part of a conference so they play a lot of big time schools like Michigan, Michigan State, UCLA and USC, so I like their school a lot. It's a beautiful campus. My family went there. My aunt went to St. Mary's and graduated, and also went to Notre Dame and got a degree there."
Hill plans to take Brown up on his invitation to come in early for a game either this weekend for Purdue, or next weekend for Stanford.
"He has not indicated to me what they like about me," Hill said. I think that's why he asked me to come in early, so we can talk about things like that. I think what he likes about me is my speed mostly. I think he also liked my cutting ability and my vision on the field, I can see the holes a whole lot better.
"I like him a lot," Hill said of Brown. "He knows what he's talking about. I think we would have pretty good chemistry, me and him."
Hill has 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash. As a sophomore, he made it to state in track in the 100-meter dash, and as a member of the school's 400-meter relay team. His personal best in the 100 is a 10.7-second electronic.
Other than Notre Dame, Hill has seen the campuses at Michigan and Michigan State. He plans on going back to those places as well as Louisville this season.
Hill had a blast at the Irish-Michigan game.
"I thought it was unbelievable," Hill stated. "I thought Notre Dame came out fired up and ready to play, and capitalized on the turnovers Michigan made. I thought it was going to be a close game, but Notre Dame took it to them.
"Just the crowd is crazy. One of the loudest stadiums I've ever been in. The student section is amazing. The campus is beautiful. I got a first-class tour when I was there. It's an unbelievable experience."
Hill soaked it in with several other recruits that were on campus. He talked a lot with fellow Michigan class-of-2010 running back Austin White.
"I've seen him at most of the places I've been to," Hill said. "Everybody thinks Notre Dame is a tremendous school to go to for football and to get a degree. Everyone liked it, but we're all trying to keep an open mind."
Hill isn't exactly sure when he will make a verbal commitment, but thinks it could come in the spring. He's open to every school right now.
"As the season progresses, that will progress," Hill said. "But if I did have a top five, Notre Dame would definitely be in the top five."
Hill puts in a lot of work in the weight room, and is sporting a 320-pound max bench press, and a 550-pound max squat. In addition to his running back duties, he returns kicks and punts. Because of a thigh injury, Hill has only played in roughly two games this fall, but has around 300 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He should be 100 percent soon, and is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield.
"They have me run numerous routes out of the backfield, and they also put me in the slot and spread me out wide," Hill explained. "It's a little like the Arkansas offense."
Though Hill is open to anybody regarding the recruiting process, he knows what he'll be looking for in a college program.
"I think right now, things a school is going to have to have get my signature, is a type of offense I can run in, and the coaching staff, and the type of education I can get overall, because I might not make it to the pros or I won't be playing professional football my whole life, so I need the type of education that will benefit me."