After reporting on Army's offense, ArmySports.com now takes a look at the defense after the first…
Remembering Mario Hill
It was that sudden. In an instant Mario Hill was gone. Mario Hill had always tried to the right thing, live the right way and was an example for his family. One wrong turn, an accident, ended his life. It shows the fragility of human life. Fortunately his untimely passing does not end the legacy for his family, friends, teammates and Army fans. Mario wore uniform No. 1 on the field and he was number one to those who cared about him.
Mario Hill was the oldest of nine children. He grew up in a difficult environment but always led by setting a positive example for his brothers and sisters. He worked hard in school and he walked-on at the United States Military Academy Prep school in Fort Monmouth, N.J. in 2005. In 2006 when he set foot on the West Point campus he became the first member of his family to attend college. He played on the JV team in 2006. In 2007 he appeared in nine games mostly on special teams. In 2008 he was the starting cornerback playing in all 12 games making 28 tackles and defending six passes. As a senior he was the first player to play field cornerback under Rich Ellerson. Field cornerback is the most difficult position to play in the double eagle flex defense that Ellerson brought to West Point.
The field cornerback is often asked to play Cover One or man-on-man defense without safety help over the top. It's not a position for weak-hearted players who can't handle responsibility. Mario Hill was the perfect cornerback for the role since he was always accountable and could handle the responsibilities the position entailed. Hill started all twelve games his senior season in 2009. He made 27 tackles, picked off two passes and defensed another eight throws. The following year Rich Ellerson told me how well Mario had played, "Mario Hill was a perennial starter out there.... our expectation that the corner position (in the flex) may have been a concern. It really hasn't been. It's been well played."
While Mario Hill was a fine player he was even a better man and a great teammate. Players, coaches and fans all remember his smile, his great sense of humor while at the same time he was a rather soft spoken and a quiet leader. Teammates refer to him as "Thrill Hill". Now the "Thrill" is gone, so suddenly and far too soon. As the lines in the West Point Alma Mater says "And when our work is done, Our course on earth is run, May it be said, Well done." Well done Mario Hill. May you Rest in peace.
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