Austin Hill's Career Day Proves Wildcat WR Deserves All-America Consideration

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Austin Hill has put together an All-American caliber season for Arizona this season, with Saturday's effort against USC setting a new career benchmark for the sophomore.

Marqise Lee's astounding 345-yard receiving effort might bury the lead that is Austin Hill's performance in Arizona's 39-36 defeat of USC. While Lee set a Pac-12 record, Hill flirted with history himself in catching 10 passes for 259 yards. The Wildcat receiver did not score a touchdown, but without his production, Arizona does not win. It's that simple.

Hill made what was arguably the play of the game when he hauled in Matt Scott's pass on third-and-22 to not just convert the first down, but gain 60 yards. Four plays later, Ka'Deem Carey scored the go-ahead touchdown.

Play after play like that set the table for the rest of the Wildcat offense. Were there assists in football, Hill would have been Steve Nash against USC.

A burning question before this season was which receiver will fill the void Juron Criner left? Hill has done that and more, and in just his sophomore campaign.

Coming into Saturday, Hill was the No. 14 wideout in the nation with 96.9 yards per game. Today, he eclipsed 900 total yards receiving and will crack the FBS top 10. His counterpart Lee is garnering Heisman talk and will be a 1st Team All Pac-12 and All-America selection, but Hill isn't far behind.

An All-America push for Hill would be no easy feat. He's fourth in the conference in receiving yardage -- Oregon State's dynamic duo of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks are both averaging better than a football field a game. A campaign for multiple Pac-12 representatives on the All-American team with omnipresent East Coast bias -- perceived or real -- might be a pipe dream.

But can Hill continue to produce at the lofty levels he's reached throughout 2012?

Yes he can.

Three of the final four pass defenses Arizona sees the remainder of this season are ranked No. 48 or lower.

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