Ike Hilliard weighs in on Florida's progression at receiver under Dan Mullen
Florida legend Ike Hilliard has a different perspective on the wide receivers coming through the Gators program now that he’s an NFL assistant.
Currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers as wide receivers coach, Hilliard has seen former Gators like Van Jefferson, Tyrie Cleveland and Freddie Swain make it to the NFL, along with Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes who are on their way.
“I think they’ve done a really unique job of putting different bodies together, instead of trying to get the same guy,” Hilliard said on “Another Dooley Noted Podcast” with Pat Dooley. “I think that’s helped tremendously, the guys that are coming out now, Grimes and Toney. One’s a tree in Grimes, 6-3, 6-3 and a half I think he is. … Potential to be a big-play threat, needs to be a little bit better of a knee bender. But aggressive to the ball, all that stuff. Where Kadarius Toney, you probably couldn’t touch him in a phone booth. You’ll have some issues here and some concentration drops, but there’s no question when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s dynamic.”
With the recent additions to the NFL like Jefferson, Cleveland and Swain, Hilliard said Florida is trending in the right direction in terms of recruiting.
Hilliard also agreed with the description of “unicorn” for Kyle Pitts.
“He reminds me a lot of Jordan Reed,” Hilliard said. “Jordan was probably a tick more dynamic laterally, but in terms of playmaking ability and what he does to a defense on a weekly basis, there’s no question he’s going to be a special talent on the next level.”
Hilliard was in his first season with the Steelers this past season, but he was wide receivers coach in Washington for seven seasons over two different stints (2012), including the previous six years. He has also served as the wide receivers coach in Buffalo (2013) and assistant wide receivers coach in Miami (2011).