FB, 6-2, 243
OUTLOOK: One of the most versatile offensive weapons on the roster, Arkansas suffered down the stretch in 2006 when Hillis wasn’t available due to a deep thigh bruise. A punishing blocker, a powerful runner and a natural pass catcher, he will most likely be utilized at fullback, H-back, tailback, tight end, wide receiver and punt returner at some point during the upcoming season. If that isn’t enough, he may return to special teams where he was dominant on the kickoff coverage team early in the 2006 season. Rated the No. 1 fullback in the nation by Phil Steele’s College Football, he was also recognized as the best blocking back in the Southeastern Conference by The Birmingham News. He will help clear the way for Arkansas’ stable of tailbacks and will get an opportunity to get his hands on the ball out of a variety of formations. He enters pre-season camp as the Razorbacks’ top fullback and a prime candidate to return punts.
2006: Hillis was turning in a solid junior campaign before a deep thigh bruise sidelined the versatile running back for the final four games of the season. He appeared in the Razorbacks’ first 10 games, earning a start in nine contests. He was slated to start the Alabama game as well, but was injured on the opening kickoff. He rushed 13 times for 57 yards and one touchdown on the season. He was an effective target out of the backfield in the passing game as he hauled in 19 receptions for 159 yards. His 19 catches tied for second on the squad while his 159 yards ranked third. When he was healthy, he was also the Hogs’ primary punt returner. He returned eight punts for 92 yards and one kickoff for 18 yards. His contributions were not limited to the offensive side of the ball. He recorded three tackles in the first two games of the season as a member of the UA special teams. – Hillis racked up 48 all-purpose yards in the Razorbacks’ season opener against USC. He rushed three times for 16 yards, caught a pass for 14 yards and returned a kickoff for 18 yards against the Trojans. He also tallied a solo tackle on special teams against USC. He earned his second start at fullback in the Utah State game. For the third-consecutive game, he garnered the starting nod at fullback in the Hogs’ win at Vanderbilt. He didn’t have a rushing attempt and hauled in only one pass for a loss of five yards. He returned one punt for nine yards in the Razorbacks’ conference opener. He saw the field for one play against No. 22 Alabama. He appeared on the kickoff coverage team on the opening kick, but did not return to the game while nursing a deep bruise on his left thigh. Hillis returned to the field making a start at fullback against No. 2 Auburn. He snared two passes for 21 yards with both going for first downs against the Tigers. He tallied a 14-yard and a nine-yard gain in the victory. He earned a season-high four carries for 23 yards and hauled in one catch for five yards in the Razorbacks’ 63-7 win over Southeast Missouri State. Hillis turned in runs of 2, 3, 6 and 12 yards. He also earned two first downs on his four carries. Hillis garnered Hogwired.com Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in Arkansas’ 38-3 win over Ole Miss. He made a season-high six catches for 43 yards in the Razorbacks' victory over the Rebels. His reception resume included gains of 6, 7, 8, 9 and 13 yards. Three of the Conway, Ark., product's six catches netted first downs. Hillis also rushed twice for seven yards and a touchdown. He scored his first touchdown of the season on a one-yard run in the second quarter. He turned in what Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt called one of his “best games” as a Razorback in a non-conference win over Louisiana- Monroe. He was instrumental in the Hogs’ 331-yard rushing attack clearing the way for a pair of 100-yard rushers (Felix Jones and Darren McFadden) with five knockdown blocks. He rushed twice for six yards against the Warhawks. He also snared two passes for 18 yards and returned one punt for 13 yards in the victory. Hillis was sensational as a blocking back and out of the backfield in Arkansas’ 26-20 win over South Carolina. He made a key block on McFadden’s 43-yard run in the first quarter. Hillis made two catches for 18 yards and returned one punt for 12 yards against the Gamecocks. He rushed once for four yards and returned one punt for no gain in the Hogs’ 31-14 win over No. 13 Tennessee before leaving the game with a deep (right) thigh bruise. Hillis suffered the injury on a fair catch on a punt against the Volunteers. Before leaving the game, he helped clear the way for McFadden’s 181 yards rushing. He sat out the Mississippi State, LSU and SEC Championship games due to the thigh bruise suffered in the Tennessee game. He also didn’t appear in Arkansas’ match-up with No. 7 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
2005: He was one of the Hogs’ most productive offensive weapons accounting for 947 all-purpose yards in 11 games. He averaged 86.1 yards per game with 36.5 coming on receptions, 28.6 rushing, 15.0 on punt returns and 5.9 on kickoff returns. That total ranked him third on the squad. He started nine of 11 games at the fullback\H-back position. Despite coming out of the backfield, he led the team with 38 receptions for 402 yards and four touchdowns. He became the first Razorback running back to lead the Hogs in receptions since Gary Anderson in 1982. He ranked ninth in the SEC with 3.45 receptions per game. His 402 yards and four scores ranked second on the team. He made at least one reception in all 11 games and three or more catches in nine contests, including a career-high seven receptions for 81 yards against Auburn. He ranked fourth on the team with 315 yards rushing and three scores for an average of 28.6 yards per game on the ground. He earned his first 100-yard rushing game of his career with a 135-yard and three-touchdown effort against Missouri State. He ranked fourth in the SEC and No. 32 in the nation with a 10.3-yard punt return average after returning 16 punts for 165 yards. He also returned three kickoffs for 65 yards and a 21.7-yard average. He also proved effective in special teams’ duty earning four tackles on the Razorbacks’ kickoff coverage squad. – He came charging out of the gates with the best rushing game of his career when he racked up 135 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries in the Razorbacks’ season opener against Missouri State. He scored on a season-long run of 32 yards for the Hogs’ first score of the season and then followed it up with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns covering one and four yards. He also recorded one reception for three yards, one kickoff return for 22 yards and his first special teams tackle of his career. He rushed 15 times for 39 yards while catching four balls for 60 yards and a 16-yard touchdown against Vanderbilt. He also hauled in a 29-yard reception against the Commodores. He narrowly missed on completing his first pass attempt when his toss eluded Marcus Monk on a trick play. He earned 19 yards on the ground on eight carries in a road loss at No. 1 USC. He continued to produce through the air with three catches for 22 yards. Two of his three catches resulted in first downs against the Trojans. He also assumed the starting role as the Hogs’ punt returner with one return for four yards. He rushed nine times for 54 yards and caught two passes for five yards against Alabama. He also returned one kickoff for 20 yards and two punts for 19 yards against the Crimson Tide. He racked up 98 all-purpose yards in a non-conference win over Louisiana-Monroe. He earned 15 yards on five carries, 36 yards on three receptions and 25 yards on a pair of punt returns against the Indians. He had a career day catching the football with seven receptions for 81 yards, including a 29-yarder, against Auburn. He also carried the ball four times for eight yards and had a 27-yard punt return in earning Hogwired.com Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He racked up 90 all-purpose yards against Georgia with five catches for 41 yards, two rushes for three yards, a 23-yard kickoff return and 23 yards on four punt returns. He hauled in his second receiving touchdown of the season on a four-yard pass from Casey Dick in the second quarter against South Carolina. He was named the Hogwired.com Special Teams Player of the Week following the Razorbacks’ win at Ole Miss. He accounted for two special teams tackles and returned three punts for 34 yards with a long of 27. He also caught four passes for 41 yards from his fullback position including a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Razorbacks the lead for good in the fourth quarter. He rushed three times for 14 yards. Against Mississippi State, he once again turned in an outstanding all-around game with 28 yards rushing on five carries, three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown, and two punt returns for 23 yards. His receiving touchdown came on a 15-yard toss from Dick in the second quarter of the UA victory. In the Hogs’ season finale at No. 3 LSU, he collected three receptions for 58 yards including a career-long 45-yard catch on a ball thrown by UA wide receiver Cedric Washington. The long pass play set up a UA touchdown early in the fourth quarter to draw the Razorbacks to within two points of the Tigers.
2004: He turned in a solid true freshman campaign rushing 63 times for 240 yards and six touchdowns while playing at both fullback and tailback. His 24.00 rushing yards per game average rated him 26th in the SEC. He also hauled in 12 passes for 97 yards and two scores. He earned at least one carry and one reception in the same game six times on the season. He ranked fourth in the SEC in touchdowns scored with eight total scores and 11th in the league in scoring (4.80 ppg.). He tied Thomas Brown of Georgia for the most touchdowns by a conference freshman. He was off to a torrid start scoring a touchdown in each of his first four collegiate games before sustaining an injury against Florida. He was thought to be out for at least 6-8 weeks after suffering a fracture of the transverse processes of the L1, L2 and L3 vertebrates against the Gators. However, he returned to play three snaps against Georgia only three weeks after the injury. He tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with Matt Jones and De'Arrius Howard. He scored a touchdown in six of the 10 games he played as a freshman. – He rushed nine times for 32 yards and a pair of touchdowns (1, 2) in his collegiate debut against New Mexico State. He also returned a kickoff 10 yards against the Aggies. He tied for the team lead with three catches for 15 yards against No. 7 Texas. He rushed three times for 10 yards including an eight-yard touchdown run against the Longhorns. He earned his fourth rushing touchdown of the season on a one-yard run against Louisiana-Monroe. He also caught three passes for 25 yards and returned three kickoffs for 72 yards against the Indians. He rushed 10 times for 34 yards and a touchdown in the Razorbacks' 27-10 win over Alabama. He also hauled in an 18-yard touchdown reception against the Crimson Tide. He was knocked out of the Florida game after getting hit in the back with a helmet in the Hogs' loss at Gainesville. He fractured three transverse processes (L1, L2, L3) in his back and was originally slated to be sidelined for six to eight weeks. Before leaving the game in the first half, he rushed five times for 14 yards and hauled in one pass for 10 yards. He did not play due to injury against No. 4 Auburn. He returned earlier than anticipated from an injury, but was limited to three snaps against No. 6 Georgia. He earned his first career start at fullback against the Bulldogs. He made one catch for 10 yards and a first down. He did not carry the ball against Georgia. He rushed six times for eight yards in a 35-32 loss at South Carolina. For only the second time on the season, he did not earn a reception. He earned a career-high 18 rushes for 64 yards against Ole Miss. He scored his first touchdown in four games on a one-yard run on the Hogs' opening drive of the game. He also recorded a season-long rush of 12 yards against the Rebels. He rushed six times for 11 yards and made one catch for six yards in Arkansas' 24-21 road win at Mississippi State. In the season finale against LSU, he rushed five times for 66 yards including a long run of 42 yards. He also caught one pass for 17 yards and returned three kickoffs for 46 yards against the Tigers.
HIGH SCHOOL CAREER: One of the nation’s top recruits, he rushed for 2,631 yards and 29 touchdowns, including nine touchdowns of more than 55 yards, on 261 carries for an average of 10.1 yards per carry in his senior season. His 2,631 yards was the second highest single-season total in Class 5A history trailing only former Razorback De’Arrius Howard (2,746). He earned 100 yards or more in all 12 games as a senior. He also caught 12 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 384 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Russellville as a senior for Coach Kenny Smith. He was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. He was also named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Team as both a junior and a senior. He was also a member of The Associated Press Arkansas Super Team and was named to the Fox Sports Net “All-South” first-team offense. He won the Landers Award, recognizing the top high school football player in Arkansas. He earned consensus all-conference, all-state and All-Arkansas honors as a junior and a senior. He racked up 1,427 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. He also snared 10 receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. A SuperPrep All-American, he was ranked as both the top fullback in the nation and the top prospect in Arkansas by the same publication. He was selected to Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report All-America squad. He was a member of the Parade magazine All-America football team. He was rated as the No. 2 fullback in the nation and as the No. 1 prospect in Arkansas by Rivals.com. He was also ranked as the No. 44 prospect in the Southeast by Rivals.com. Max Emfinger had him as the top fullback prospect in the nation. Tom Lemming ranked him as the No. 44 overall player in the nation’s top 100 prep players. The Insiders.com ranked him as the No. 79 prospect and the No. 10 running back in the country. He was listed as the No. 3 prospect in Arkansas by The Morning News. All-conference and all-state in baseball as well, he was also recruited by Alabama, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Tennessee and Michigan.
PERSONAL: Born Jan. 21, 1986, he is the son of Doug and Carrie Hillis. He is enrolled in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and is majoring in sociology. He was named a Hard Working Hog for the 2005-06 academic year.