University of Miami

The backstory on how Miami DE Trevon Hill made his way into the portal and then to the U

UM introduces their 25th football coach, Manny Diaz

The University of Miami had its news conference to announce new head football coach Manny Diaz on Wednesday.
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The University of Miami had its news conference to announce new head football coach Manny Diaz on Wednesday.

Another day, another big-time transfer.

To start his National Signing Day press conference Wednesday in Coral Gables, coach Manny Diaz announced the Miami Hurricanes received a National Letter of Intent from Trevon Hill, a transfer defensive end from the Virginia Tech Hokies.

First, Hill will have to graduate and earn his Virginia Tech degree in May, thereby making him eligible to play his final season immediately in 2019 as a graduate transfer with Miami. Ranked by as the 22nd best transfer in the nation, regardless of position, Hill is a valuable addition to the 2019 UM signing class and could replace NFL-bound Joe Jackson as the starting defensive end opposite Jonathan Garvin.

Hill, 6-3 and 245 pounds, redshirted his freshman season in 2015. Over the next three seasons he played in 30 games — including only three in 2018 — and amassed 94 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11 1/2 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and interception.

But after an apparent altercation this past season during halftime of the Hokies’ surprising loss to Old Dominion on Sept. 22, Hill was dismissed by Hokies coach Justin Fuente.

“After consultation with our coaching staff and administration at Virginia Tech, Trevon Hill has been dismissed from the football team effective immediately for not upholding the high standards that we have for our student-athletes at Virginia Tech,’’ Fuente said last September after Hill was dismissed. “I will always put the interests of Virginia Tech and our team first no matter how difficult those decisions may be.’’

The Hurricanes football coach Manny Diaz says, "Maybe it just takes me". as he speaks to the media at the University of Miami on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

Fuente never elaborated on why Hill was kicked off the team, but told reporters the following week that he had “very frank and honest conversations’’ with Hill and that it was “not one incident’’ that led to the player’s dismissal.

When he was dismissed this past season after those first three games, Hill was leading the team with 4 1/2 tackles for loss and 3 1/2 sacks.

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Diaz said Wednesday, when asked if signing Hill, as well as any other transfers who have had some disciplinary issues at their former football programs, was a risk, UM’s coach was adamant about the program’s decision.

“As a football staff,’’ Diaz said, “we would never bring anyone here who we didn’t vet out and from our standpoint we didn’t feel like would have a great chance for success at the University of Miami. Because again, we think we have a really good culture here and we as a staff would not want to introduce anyone to our culture that we think would be causing any type of disruption in any type of way.“

On Wednesday, Fuente talked a bit to Virginia Tech reporters about Hill.

“I still believe in Trevon and want him to do well as far as continuing to keep him on scholarship so that he can get his education and have an opportunity to play,’’ the Hokies coach told the media, including David Teel of the “That’s what we want for him, is to still have an opportunity to live out his dream. That’s why we’ve kept him on financial aid so that he does have an opportunity to go play wherever he wants.”

Hill, who is from Virginia Beach and starred at Salem High, wrote Jan. 8 on social media as part of a long post, “Where I’m from we don’t take losing lightly, and I just wanted to instill that in my teammates and bring the best out of them. During the Virginia Tech game at ODU, specifically during halftime, I was having a conversation with my teammates, and one of the staff overheard a part of the conversations. Words were said and a heated exchange took place. To my knowledge no formal investigation or meetings happened with the athletic department before my dismissal was finalized the next day.

“To this day, I’m still confused, and hurt, about why my dismissal was the solution to a problem I sincerely believe could have been talked out...No, look back, I regret my part in all of this and have learned I need to work on harnessing my passion about winning the right way, but it would be a disservice to myself, my family and my support system if I didn’t speak the truth about what transpired. I have a future to think about, and must responsibly deal with this situation head on.’’

He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Jan. 9 during an online interview that he was still enrolled at Virginia Tech and was on schedule to graduate in May. “He was being wishy-washy,’’ Hill said regarding Fuente in the online interview. “And I lost a lot of respect for somebody I had a lot of respect for. Even though I didn’t like him much, I had respect for him. But I completely lost all my respect for that man.’’

He told the Times-Dispatch he had been working out and maintaining his playing weight. “I just turned all the negative energy into positive energy,’’ he said.

On Wednesday after his transfer was announced, Hill tweeted, “Good vibes. Really time to move on. Forgive but never Forget.’’

He joins defensive lineman Chigozie Nnoruka (UCLA), safety Bubba Bolden (formerly of Southern Cal), quarterback Tate Martell (Ohio State), running back Asa Martin (Auburn), wide receiver K.J. Osborn (Buffalo) and offensive tackle Tommy Kennedy (FCS Butler) as transfers to commit to Miami since the start of the early signing period last month.

Also transferring to UM this summer from the College of San Francisco — a junior college — will be punter Louis Hedley, who signed Tuesday night.

Martell, Martin, Osborn and Kennedy are already enrolled at UM. Bolden and Nnoruka also signed Letters of Intent on Wednesday.

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Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.