231 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 [email protected] 808.123.4567

P.J. Hill no ‘Great Dayne’ as of now

first_imgBy now every Badger fan has probably heard the comparison of redshirt freshman running back P.J. Hill to former University of Wisconsin great Ron Dayne.Both have similar burly frames and use them in the same way — bowling straight over defenders in a punishing manner, neither being the juking and jiving type whatsoever.Also, both are from the greater New York area — Dayne hailing from New Jersey and Hill from Elmhurst, N.Y., though Hill wasn’t even a teenager when Dayne won the 1999 Heisman trophy.And even more so, Hill has jumped out to a hot start in his first year, already amassing more than 1,000 rushing yards in Wisconsin’s first seven games — just like Dayne, who ran for 1,863 yards in his freshman season before going on to set the NCAA Division I-A rushing record.But that’s where the comparisons stop.Dayne was one of the greatest running backs in NCAA history — regardless of his currently lackluster pro career — and it’s way too early to even mention the two in the same sentence.Dayne made his name in the Rose Bowl — both of them. Even though Dayne was a consistently amazing player as a four-year starter, it wasn’t until his junior and senior seasons that he began to receive national recognition when the Badgers made the Rose Bowl both years.Against UCLA in 1999 and Stanford in 2000, Dayne rushed for 246 and 200 yards, respectively, en route to winning MVP honors in both games — becoming one of only four other players to win two Rose Bowl MVP awards in NCAA history.Not until Hill can do the same in a similarly big game should he be measured up to Dayne in any sense. The biggest game Hill has played in during his young career so far was the Sept. 23 game at Michigan and while he was one of the only Badgers to show up, he didn’t have a jaw-dropping game by any means — rushing and receiving for 118 total yards, with a touchdown. And looking at the Badgers’ remaining schedule, it doesn’t appear as though he’ll have the opportunity to shine in a big game this season, depending on what Bowl game Wisconsin earns.However, this is not to take away from Hill.While Hill is certainly reminiscent of “The Great Dayne,” he is his own player, making a name for himself.Coming into the 2006 season, Wisconsin’s hole at running back was a big question.Brian Calhoun had bolted to the NFL in April, and Booker Stanley was kicked off the team for his legal troubles, leaving the Badgers with only Hill, senior Dywon Rowan, junior Jamil Walker and incoming freshman Lance Smith — a group with only 232 rushing yards between them prior to this season.But Hill, who sat out last season with a broken leg, emerged from the pack early this season and has established himself as, arguably, the best player on the team. Game in and game out, Hill has been a major factor in every Badger win so far; whether it has been flashy or not is a complete different question.But that’s just the type of player Hill is — a workhouse. Like all Badger running backs who came before him — Dayne, Michael Bennett, Anthony Davis and Brian Calhoun — Hill will take carry after carry and just rack up the yards by continuing to pound the ball over the course of a game.The comparisons between Hill and Dayne are tempting, but they need to be silenced until Hill 1) even completes one season; 2) leads the Badgers to victory in a big game; 3) plays in a Bowl game; and 4) is at least a favorite for the Heisman.Then, and only then, should Hill be compared to Dayne. But Hill shouldn’t be worried about it anyway — he has the skills to one day put his own number on the Camp Randall façade.Michael is a senior double majoring in journalism and communication arts. If you’d like to reminisce about the legendary Ron Dayne, you can contact him at [email protected]last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *