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Keep Shaun Hill In Mind For 2009

Although many of you are focusing on your fantasy league playoffs, it’s never too early to start thinking about next year. Are you the type of owner who prefers to load up on running backs and wide receivers early in your drafts and snag a quarterback in the later rounds? If a few situations break in favor of

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill during the upcoming offseason, I think he would rate as a nice lower-round value pick in 2009.

 

Hill’s Pre-NFL History

 

Shaun Christopher Hill was born January 9, 1980, in Parsons,

Kansas. The athletic Hill was a three-year starter at quarterback and a two-year starter at free safety for

Parsons

Senior High School, earning All-Southeast Kansas League honors during his junior and senior seasons. Hill also lettered in basketball, baseball and track.

 

After graduation, Hill wanted to go to college and play football. However, he was not highly recruited by any of the major college football programs and did not receive any scholarship offers. Undeterred, Hill decided to matriculate to

Hutchinson

Community College in

Hutchinson,

Kansas, in 1998. As the school’s starting quarterback, Hill led the Blue Dragons to a pair of winning seasons (1998-1999). During his freshman year, Hill was a first-team All-Jayhawk Conference choice and an honorable mention NJCAA All-American. As a sophomore, Hill passed for 1,688 yards and rushed for 370 yards, which earned him an All-Jayhawk Conference honorable mention. Hill also led the Blue Dragons to the 1999 Valley of the Sun Bowl Championship. He remains the third-leading passer in school history with 2,948 yards and is tied for third in career touchdown passes with 23.

 

Hill’s standout performances at the junior college level earned him a partial scholarship from the

University of

Maryland. The

Kansas native’s junior season (2000) with the Terrapins was uneventful. Hill started just three games (he missed five games with a shoulder injury and played part-time in a few others), finishing the year with 778 passing yards, six passing scores and four interceptions. As a senior (2001), Hill threw for 2,380 yards and 13 touchdowns, leading the Terrapins to their first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 1985 and to a berth in the Orange Bowl to face the Florida Gators. Although

Florida won 56-23,

Maryland finished the season ranked No. 10 in the nation. During Hill’s stay at

Maryland, he amassed 3,158 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes, and earned All ACC second-team honors.

 

Hill’s NFL Career

 

Coincidentally enough, Hill’s college career got off to a lackluster start, and so did his pro career. The 6-foot-3, 226-pound Hill did not hear his name called at the 2002 National Football League Draft, which meant that he was free to sign with any club as a free agent.

 

Shaun Hill – 2002 – 2007 NFL REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS

YEAR

TEAM

GP

GS

CMP

ATT

COM%

YDS

TD

INT

RTE

2002

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

00.0

0

0

0

0.0

2003

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

00.0

0

0

0

0.0

2004

Minnesota

0

0

0

0

00.0

0

0

0

0.0

2005

Minnesota

1

0

0

0

00.0

0

0

0

0.0

2006

San Fran.

0

0

0

0

00.0

0

0

0

0.0

2007

San Fran.

3

2

54

79

68.4

501

5

1

101.3

 

Hill ended up joining the Minnesota Vikings to serve as the club’s No. 3 quarterback that season, but he was inactive for all 16 regular-season games. The Vikings sent him to play in NFL Europe for the Amsterdam Admirals in spring 2003. Hill led the overseas league with 2,258 passing yards and tied for No. 2 with 13 touchdown passes. Although his fine showing across the pond earned him a second look from the Vikings, Hill did not play an NFL down in 2003 or 2004. He played his first regular-season down during the last regular-season game of the 2005 season. Hill’s play was a kneel-down to end the contest.

 

Hill signed with the

San Francisco 49ers as a free agent in 2006, and he beat out backup quarterback Jesse Palmer (retired) to serve as the club’s No. 3 signal-caller for the regular season. Unfortunately for Hill, he found himself holding a clipboard yet again during each week of the regular season, and 2007 was starting to look like a rerun of 2006 for him. However, Hill’s luck began to change late in the year. Making a relief appearance for injured backup quarterback Trent Dilfer (retired), Hill completed 22-of-27 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown against his former team, the Vikings. In that contest, he also set a record for highest completion percentage in NFL history for a player making his first pass attempts. With Dilfer and regular starting quarterback Alex Smith out, Hill started the 49ers’ next two games. Against the Cincinnati Bengals (his first ever regular-season start), Hill completed 21-of-28 throws for 197 yards and one touchdown. The following week, Hill completed 11-of-24 throws for 123 yards and three touchdowns with one interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He missed

San Francisco’s 2007 regular-season finale with a back injury.

 

Shaun Hill – 2008 NFL REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS

WEEK#

OPP

RESULT

CMP

ATT

COM%

YDS

TD

INT

RTE

Week 08

Seattle

L, 13 – 34

15

23

65.2

173

1

0

102.3

Week 09

BYE

—–

—–

—–

—–

—–

—–

—–

—–

Week 10

@ Arizona

L, 24 – 29

19

40

60.1

217

2

2

60.1

Week 11

St. Louis

W, 35 – 16

15

20

75.0

213

2

0

142.3

Week 12

@ Dallas

L, 22 – 35

21

33

63.6

303

2

1

100.9

Week 13

@ Buffalo

W, 10 – 03

14

23

60.9

161

1

0

96.5

Week 14

N.Y. Jets

W, 24 – 14

28

39

71.8

285

2

1

98.8

 

AVERAGES: Week 8 – Week 14

19

30

66.1

225

1.7

0.7

100.2

 

Although he showed promise in 2007, the 2008 season started with more of the same old backup duty for Hill. With Alex Smith out with a shoulder injury, Hill found himself backing up new starting quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan, who had been signed at the urging of new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Hill saw his first action of the season in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks after interim head coach Mike Singletary elected to bench the struggling, turnover-prone O’Sullivan at halftime. During that contest, Hill led the 49ers on their only touchdown drive of the game. The following week, Hill started his first game of the season (just the third start of his career) and nearly led the 49ers to an upset of the Arizona Cardinals. Thanks to his steady, nearly mistake-free play and the team’s success on the field – the 49ers are 3-3 with Hill under center – Singletary named him the starter for the rest of the season. By the way, Hill’s passer rating in Week 11 against the St. Louis Rams and his 303 passing yards in Week 12 against

Dallas are both career-highs.

 

Hill’s Potential Fantasy Value In 2009

 

Would you love to snag a quarterback in the lower rounds of your draft who would give you roughly 225 passing yards, close to two touchdown passes and just one interception or less each week? For a lot of you, the answer to that question is undoubtedly “yes.” I think you should keep an eye on Hill during the offseason. His 2009 fantasy potential looks intriguing, but he has both upside and downside. Hill’s play, as discussed, has been solid and should continue to improve, although I can’t help wondering if the addition of more talented wide receivers would generate an uptick in his passing numbers. Hill has not turned the ball over frequently like other quarterbacks have while playing in offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s system.

 

Hill signed a three-year, $6 million contract with the 49ers back in February. According to the deal, he will receive a $1.95 million signing bonus with base salaries of $1 million (2008), $1.4 million (2009) and $1.5 million (2010). If Hill reaches all the playing-time and performance incentives in the contract, the total deal could reach $11.5 million. Is this a guarantee that Hill will be

San Francisco’s starter in 2009? No, it is not. It’s possible that the 49ers brain trust may have doubts about Hill’s long-term prospects. Rookie quarterbacks Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) and Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) have obviously developed quickly, and

San Francisco may decide that they want to draft their own Ryan or Flacco.

 

Coaching changes could impact Hill. There is no guarantee that Martz will return in 2009. If he doesn’t, Hill may have to learn a new offense, which obviously would affect his numbers – especially during the first half of the season. Suppose interim head coach Mike Singletary returns next year. Singletary, as you may know, played for a Chicago Bears club that relied on a conservative, run-first offense, and he may want the 49ers to use a more run-oriented attack.

 

Bottom line – Anything is possible for Hill between the end of this season and the start of the 2009 campaign. If everything works out in his favor, keep Hill in mind during your 2009 drafts.

 

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