At the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge last week in Texas, Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier class of 2014 running back C.J. Hilliard revealed that Georgia had jumped out as his favorite school. On Wednesday, Hilliard was able to take an unofficial visit to Athens and see Georgia's campus for himself.
"The trip was crazy," Hilliard said. "I met their running backs coach and I was going to meet Coach [Mark] Richt, but he had to leave. Everything else was really nice… top-notch. Everyone was really nice and outgoing and I liked it a lot."
The Midwest prospect felt comfortable during his stay on the Southeastern Conference campus, and he found a welcoming atmosphere around Athens.
"I saw Keith Marshall, and he seemed like a cool dude," Hilliard said. "I met a few people around campus and they were outgoing and a big help getting us around the campus. The coaches were really outgoing. It just felt like a really welcoming place, and it seems a lot different than up north football… it seems a lot more intense."
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Hilliard did not hold an offer from Georgia going into the visit and the topic was not discussed during his time there, but he has had steady contact with the Bulldogs' coaching staff since early in the spring.
Hilliard has already earned an offer from Indiana and he is hearing regularly from teams across the country, with the bulk of early interest coming from Big Ten programs.
"I was definitely thinking about going to some Michigan State games and Michigan games [in the fall]," Hilliard said. "They were really interested in me after I got offered by Indiana.
"My dad did tell me Minnesota said I was one of the top running backs on their board, so they might offer soon."
Now that Hilliard has been down to see Georgia, he does not have any campus visits planned for the rest of the summer but did not rule out a few late-July camps.
"I'm just packing it in and preparing for a big junior season," he said. "Actually, I got invited to a one-day camp at Northwestern and UC is having one, so I am thinking about going to those."