February 8, 2011

Klein Oak linebacker an early target for Houston

The model the Houston Cougars and head coach Kevin Sumlin followed in regards to the 2010 recruiting class proved to be a fruitful one in that they targeted the players they wanted from day one and went directly after them. Although they didn't end up with everyone they wanted, they still landed some of the players they went after early.

For the previous class, which is now firmly in the fold after last week's signing day, the first commitments came in the form of the Houston Lamar trio in early March. This class is already shaping up to be similar in the fact that Houston has already held it's first junior day for the class of 2012 and has extended numerous offers to some of the top players in the state.

One player that was in attendance at Houston's initial junior day and has received one of the Cougars' early offers in Houston Klein Oak linebacker A.J. Hilliard who enjoyed getting to know the Cougars program more in depth recently including meeting some of the staff.

"The junior day went pretty good," said the 6-foot-2, 210 pound linebacker. "I got to see a lot, got to hear what I like to hear and got to see a lot of good stuff. It was good to get that first offer and get it out of the way."

Hilliard got the full treatment that goes along with a standard junior day, but admittedly already knew a lot about the Cougars.

"I've always like Houston," said the defensive standout. "They've always been one of my favorite schools so I definitely will remain in contact with them as things unfold. I actually got to go see them at the Texas Bowl a few years back when they played TCU."

Hilliard was a standout for Klein Oak last season racking up 101 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He is comfortable playing inside or on the edge, a trait the Cougars likely find appealing.

"My sophomore year I played outside linebacker and last year I played on the inside more," he said. "We didn't talk a lot of specifics with the coaches they said I could maybe play outside or at the Mo (middle outside) position. Either way I am good with it."

In addition to the Cougars Hilliard says he is also receiving interest from Texas A&M, Purdue, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Nebraska.

Hilliard was voted to the first team all-district team for 13-5A last year.

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