Former Eastern Michigan football running back Bronson Hill is attempting to do something that only three other active NFL players can say; they played college football at Eastern Michigan University.
“Coming out of Eastern is a different game, it is a smaller Division I school so you don’t get looked at the same as Michigan or Michigan State,” Hill said.
Hill’s tenure with Eastern Michigan was an up and down one. His sophomore season captured the attention of most of the local media, particularly his game against Toledo on Oct. 13, 2012 in which he rushed for 283 yards and scored four touchdowns.
He then proceeded to have a 1,000 yard season during his junior year, in 2013, when he carried the ball 196 times for 1,101 yards.
Hill’s senior season saw a drastic drop in playing time, with only had 85 carries for 351 yards, and he never found the end-zone. He did, however, improve his catching ability pulling in nine receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill graduated from Eastern Michigan and proceeded to look towards the next level of opportunities.
Without being selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, he was invited to the New York Jets rookie mini-camp in June but that did not pan out for Hill.
The Grand Rapids, Mich. native signed with the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 6 and immediately got thrown into the running back conversation. After injuries to LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown, he had to quickly learn the playbook.
“Even before it was a lot of cramming. I had to learn a lot at a fast pace. It wasn’t as slowed down.” Hill said. “It took a lot of extra time but the running backs coach slowed it down for me and gave me a lot of help.”
In Hill’s first game with the Bills, he had nine carries for 23 yards including a nine yard run. Hill got the starting nod in the next game, due to an injury to McCoy. Hill proceeded to run for 25 yards on eight carries and caught the game winning two point conversion to defeat the Cleveland Browns, 11-10, on Aug. 20.
“Before, like when the play was called, I was like man I’ve got to catch this and then once it happened I was in disbelief,” Hill said.
Hill credited former Eastern Michigan offensive line coach and current Bills assistant offensive line coach, Kurt Anderson, with getting the coaches to give him a shot.
“Luckily Kurt Anderson, from my sophomore year, is here and he had a big role in getting me here,” Hill said.
Hill is hoping to latch onto the Bills’ regular season roster but to do so he must survive the roster cuts. Teams must cut down to 75 players on Sept. 1 and then must cut down to the final 53 players on Sept. 5.
The Bills are scheduled to face the Detroit Lions in the final preseason game of the season at Ford Field in Detroit on Sept. 3.
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