With Jeremy Hill’s status at LSU in doubt, Kenny Hilliard’s time is now

Remember when Kenny Hilliard was the hot young freshman running back at LSU?

That was two years ago in 2011, and Hilliard exploded onto the scene amidst a three-headed running back monster that included Michael Ford, Spencer Ware and Alfred Blue. But it was Hilliard who became the Tigers’ top back down the stretch, when he scored eight touchdowns in the last six regular season games, similar to Jeremy Hill’s 2012 season.

Hilliard was the hawse; he was the future. And no, his 336 rushing yards didn’t make you slobber, but his physical aggression and talent combined to make him one of the most up and coming running backs in all of college football to watch for in 2012.

But a new cat emerged last season in uber-talented Jeremy Hill. And with Hill facing legal trouble – formally charged with simple battery yesterday, he could miss anywhere from two games or the season. He remains indefinitely suspended. Depending on whether his probation is revoked, Hill could spend six months in jail. That’s up to District Court Judge Bonnie Jackson.

So, Hilliard steps back into the spotlight, and I would argue based upon his freshman showing alone that he could be just as talented as Hill. In fact, he may be more physically gifted than Hill, with a body running backs dream about.

At 6-0, 235 pounds, Hilliard is a bruiser, able to take the 20-handoff punishment required to play in the SEC. He got off to a quick start last season, rushing for two 100-yard games against North Texas and Idaho. He finished as the Tigers’ second leading rusher with 464 yards and six touchdowns, but it was a major letdown compared to the flashes he showed as a freshman.

LSU also welcomes back Alfred Blue, who missed the last 10 games due to a knee injury, but his status will still be in doubt until we see him take some hits.

But with Hill’s season in limbo, Hilliard is the one running back who could take advantage of it and become one of the best running backs in the league for 2013.

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