CB Troy Hill Hosts Youth Football Camp

Posted May 20, 2016

Rams CB Troy Hill called the camp "Defy Your Odds" in large part because of his own backstory.

Rams cornerback Troy Hill had a whirlwind 2015 season — his first in the league. He originally signed with the Bengals in May as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon. After landing on their practice squad, Hill got promoted to the active roster in early December, but was waived on Dec. 24. The Patriots claimed him the next day, but waived him again on Dec. 30.

That’s when the Rams stepped in and claimed Hill on Dec. 31, with just three days remaining in the regular season. As such, Hill didn’t even even report to team headquarters, since the Rams were holding practice in Napa, Calif. between two weeks of games on the west coast. The cornerback arrived with the club in time to watch portions of the last practice.

“That was crazy,” Hill said. “Me and my agent were talking and he said, “It’s going to be weird because someone’s going to get you. And you didn’t get a signing bonus or anything, it’s just the last game, so they’re basically getting you for next year.’”

The Rams did keep Hill on their roster as they made their way back to Southern California. And with the franchise holding its offseason program in Oxnard, the Rams have ended up bringing Hill back to a place he considers home.

“I just feel like we’re practicing in my backyard, so I know everything,” Hill said. “It’s like everything is kind of falling into place.”

To help commemorate the homecoming, Hill put on a youth football camp for two groups — seven to 10 year olds, and 11 to 13 year olds — on April 16 at his old high school, St. Bonaventure in Ventura. He called the camp “Defy Your Odds” in large part because of his own backstory.

Hill is originally from Youngstown, Ohio but moved to Oxnard to live with relatives after failing his first year of high school. That would have long-lasting consequences, as he ended up being declared retroactively ineligible for his senior year at St. Bonaventure because he was, in effect, a fifth-year senior. The program had to vacate all of its wins from that season.

The cornerback was also involved in some off-the-field incidents at Oregon, but still made it to the NFL. All of this informs why Hill finds it important to give back to his community.

“We want to give back to the kids and let them know that everybody is going to have different types of obstacles, things that they go through. But you can overcome them,” Hill said. “I feel like the negative obstacles create character and build you up as a person when you overcome those challenges. And I believe I’ve had a few of them. So that’s why I named it “Defy Your Odds,” because I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles.”

“I feel like as a kid, growing up and stuff, I didn’t always have people steering me in the right direction. And coming from Youngstown, Ohio, I didn’t really have anybody throwing these types of camps for me,” Hill added. “So I wanted to be a difference-maker in some type of way. I always had a passion for working with kids, so now that I feel like I’m back to my second home, I want to give back and be a face in the community.”

The camp took a while to plan, but was a successful venture with around a hundred kids in each session participating and St. Bonaventure players coming out to assist with the drills.

“It was a long process, but I feel like, for my first one, it worked out pretty well,” Hill said.

And so now that OTAs are around the corner, Hill’s next job is to make the team and perform well in front of his hometown crowd on Sundays.

“I feel like I’ve got to make this my own way — get my fan base and everything, and make sure I get all the support behind me, too,” Hill said. “It’s going to be fun — an exciting journey.”

One in which, if all goes well, Hill will defy the odds once again.