Final 5 for R100 LB Hilliard

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Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier's Justin Hilliard continues to pare his list of offers in an effort to make a summer decision. On Friday the Rivals100 linebacker announced his final five.
"The schools are Notre Dame, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama," Hilliard said. "Me and my parents tried to get out to as many schools as I could in my top ten. These are some of the schools I have been looking at for awhile now."
That Iowa makes the cut to five should not surprise. His brother, C.J. Hilliard signed with the Hawkeyes this past February.
"It's not just my brother going there," Hilliard said. "They just sent three linebackers to the NFL, two of them drafted, and that is definitely intriguing. Coach [Jim] Reid got linebacker coach of the year and he is very involved in my recruiting. They have great guys there, great commits and also it is a plus that C.J.'s committed there."
Michigan and Notre Dame are two schools that have been heavily involved in Hilliard's recruitment since the early stages and are maintaining strong momentum.
"Michigan is definitely a school I have a lot of comfort with," Hilliard said. "Coach [Greg] Mattison, the linebackers coach, is very cool, very experienced and coached some of the greatest linebackers in the League. He is very involved in my recruiting right now.
"I went [to Notre Dame] a month and a half ago and that was my fourth or fifth visit up there. I have seen probably everything I could see, but it was good getting both my parents up there to visit. I have a great relationship with Coach [Brian] Kelly and also Coach [Brian] VanGorder, who came over from the New York Jets."
Hilliard's two most recent visits were to Alabama and Ohio State. He has visited the in-state program multiple times, but it was his first time in Tuscaloosa.
"Obviously they have been dominating for the last five years, so that is definitely intriguing," Hilliard said. "Other than that I got a chance to hang out with the players and I really like the players. Too many people think Alabama is a team of robots because they have been knocking off championships, but it's a family down there. They have fun, but they also get down to business so I really liked the visit."
"I brought my mom up [to Ohio State] so she could see the facilities and talk to the coaches. It was a memorable experience for me as well. I got to talk with and hang out with Raekwon McMillan, which was cool. I have been up there so many times now that I definitely am comfortable with the players."
Hilliard initially trimmed his list to 15 schools in late winter, then down to ten earlier this spring. His most recent cut gets him closer to the time when he makes his final college selection.
"It will probably be before the season," Hilliard said. "I will probably get out to Notre Dame here soon and probably make a few more visits, then think on it and make a decision whenever I am 100 percent sure."
Josh Helmholdt is the Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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