The days immediately following their selections at the 2017 NFL Draft couldn’t have been more different for Belleville’s Adoree Jackson and Brian Hill.
Jackson, the speedy USC cornerback who attended a year at Belleville East before moving to California, hasn’t had much to say since lauding the Tennessee Titans’ decision to take him No. 18 overall. He was spotted by TMZ outside a McDonald’s, though, declaring himself the next “A-List” cross-over celebrity.
Hill, a graduate of Belleville West and the all-time leading rusher at the University of Wyoming, was drafted in the fifth round No. 156 overall by the Atlanta Falcons. He spoke with the BND by phone Sunday on his way home from church.
Both will report to their respective team’s rookie training camps this Thursday.
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“(Falcons’) Coach Dan Quinn called and said he was excited to have me in Atlanta and that he can’t wait to see what I can do in the league,” Hill said. “They looked at film of my playing, liked the way I worked, and thought I fit their mold of building a brotherhood.
“I agree with that because when I’m out on the field, I’m out there for my teammates. I bond with them and feel some pressure to not let them down.”
Based on previous conversations he had with the Kansas City Chiefs, Hill believed he might be taken as a compensatory pick at the end of the third round Friday night. Belleville West coach Cameron Pettus hosted a draft party at his Damiansville home for Hill’s family and some former teammates, though the guests went home disappointed.
Hill was none-the-less glad to get the call from Atlanta when he did. He said he’s looking forward to working with the Falcons’ 1,000-yard-rusher Devonta Freeman.
“I didn’t see the Falcons coming,” he said. “We look at their board and knew they had two good backs, so we didn’t think they would draft a running back. I’m just happy they did.”
Based on an impressive Pro Day during which he ran the third-best 40-yard-dash among draft eligible linebackers, former Belleville East Lancer and Southern Illinois Saluki thought he could be a late-round pick.
It didn’t happen, but he did receive an invitation to the Miami Dolphins rookie camp.
So did Nolan Dowling, a graduate of Belleville East who made a name for himself as a long-snapper at Western Kentucky.
It’s unusual for a long-snapper ever to be drafted, but Dowling has been invited to try out as an undrafted free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs, who begin their rookie camp Saturday.
“It’s sort of the nature of the position,” he said. “I’m just grateful to the Kansas City Chiefs for giving me an opportunity. I’m looking forward to the experience and learning how the system works.”