Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier junior linebacker Justin Hilliard saw two games at Michigan this season, and both turned out to be exciting games.
Hilliard's first Michigan game this season was back in September for the night game against Notre Dame. His most recent visit to Ann Arbor came Saturday to see the rivalry between the Wolverines and Ohio State.
"It was a great one," Hilliard said. "I would say game-wise it probably topped [the Notre Dame game]. Under the lights was pretty cool, but just the rivalry in and of itself was pretty awesome."
Hilliard hails from the state of Ohio so he knows the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry well, but this was his first time witnessing a game in this series in-person.
"Pre-game and some of the fans tweeting me was pretty intense," Hilliard said. "It was great I got to see it in-person and the fights on the field… it was pretty cool."
Both Michigan and Ohio State have offered the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hilliard and he has visited both campuses several times. Saturday's game gave him a chance to further evaluate both programs.
"Obviously from an atmosphere aspect it was about Michigan, but I was evaluating both schools when watching the game," Hilliard said. "These two schools will probably be in it for the long haul. It was a hard-fought game and both defenses played equally well."
"I was really surprised by Michigan's offense. Michigan's defense, I guess, held up with them, but it was definitely an impressive game. I guess it does show opportunity for me. They are a young team so their defense is coming up. Both defenses are somewhat in the same boat."
Hilliard's parents joined him on the trip to Ann Arbor and they were able to chat with Michigan coaches before and after the game.
"I talked to Coach [Mark] Smith and Coach [Greg] Mattison," Hilliard said. "It was my mom's first time up there so I introduced them to her."
Michigan and Ohio State are two of more than 30 scholarship offers for Hilliard. Although he has been actively evaluating many of the schools on that list, he is nowhere near a decision.
"Definitely before next season," Hilliard said of a decision. "I will probably cut my list down at the end of the school year."