Orange, Ca., quarterback Ryan Hilinski made a tour of schools in the Southeast last week and that included stops at South Carolina, Ole Miss, Georgia, Tennessee, N.C. State and Duke. You might think it’s a long shot for one of those programs to pull Hilinski from across the country. He said not only is it not a long shot, it’s a strong likelihood.
“I’m going to get out of the West Coast actually,” Hilinski said. “I’m not going to stay here on the West Coast and probably play some SEC ball. I think that’s the best fit for me offensively. I’m not going to stay out here unless Stanford comes calling. That could be a possibility. I think I’m going to get out of California.”
And not only would Hilinski bring his golden right arm to the right coast, as the youngest child, his whole family plans to join him on the move. His older brother is planning to enroll in med school wherever he lands. His parents joined him on his visits last week.
Hilinski picked up offers from Georgia and N.C. State on his stops there. USC quarterbacks coach Dan Werner offered him a couple of weeks back so the two were already familiar with each other before the visit.
“Coaching staff is awesome. Coach McClendon and Coach Werner are great. Coach Muschamp, of course, was just surreal because I remember growing up and watching him at Florida and him being great there,” Hilinski said. “Having him walk me around the campus and walk me inside the dorms was just incredible. They really spent the whole day with me, had lunch with me. They took me to the new practice facility that’s being built and all that stuff and actually got to have lunch with Jake Bentley, too, and that was pretty cool. As well as with Marcus Lattimore, so I thought that was pretty awesome from the coaches standpoint.”
Hilinski said he also was impressed with the overall football facilities and the city of Columbia. And he said the amount of attention Muschamp and Werner paid him is something that will stick with him.
“I had a couple of kids say hi to me while I was walking with Coach Muschamp, and I’m like, how did they know I was visiting? I guess that’s what it’s like. I thought it was awesome, a great visit overall. And that’s one of the things that becomes a factor for me deciding, I want to go to a place that’s about football but where you can have a great life after football. I think South Carolina can provide that and that’s definitely going to be in my decision making coming up. I’m going to decide before Summer where I’m going to go. I’m going to sit down with my mom and dad pretty soon and go over the pros and cons of places that we’ve visited so far and narrow down the list a little bit.”
Last season Hilinski passed for 3,767 yards and 33 touchdowns. He works with former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake and he said one of the things Werner likes about his skills is his quick release.
“If I see the receiver open, the ball is going to get there as soon as he’s open,” Hilinski said. “He loves my charisma as a quarterback, loves my leadership is what he told me. He could tell by talking to people at my school that I’m a great kid which is probably the biggest thing I pride myself on besides football. He thinks I can run a little bit, which I can. A lot of people don’t think I can, so I think he likes that. It’s a secret weapon if I do go there.”
Hilinski said he will visit Stanford this weekend for a junior day and Oregon April 21st for the spring game. He also plans to visit Boise State, Boston College and Missouri. He will take an official visit to USC but no date has been set. He’s unsure about other officials. After talking with his parents Sunday night he hopes to have an idea on a top two.