The Class of 2010 was one of the best of the decade in the Greater Cincinnati area. With such a large crop of talent graduating this May, we begin to look at what players will take over as the stars of the local high school gridiron next season with our series, Rising Stars.
The 2009 season was a tough one to bear for the Sycamore Aviators. The team graduated many of its top performers from the previous season and finished the year with a 2-8 record and just one win inside the Greater Miami Conference.
One of the benefits to come from the season though was the development of several young players, many of which are coming back in 2010.
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Cornerback Darius Hillary is one of a handful of Aviators in the Class of 2011 that should not only make an impact next year at Sycamore, but are beginning to garner significant Division I attention.
The son of former Bengals' wide receiver Ira Hillary, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound to senior-to-be possesses the frame and athleticism to play at the next level.
To this point Boston College, Illinois, Illinois State, Indiana, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio and Stanford have already extended offers and several more schools are expressing interest.
His dad as well as his brother Brandon, a 2008 Sycamore graduate and now a defensive lineman at Campbellsville (KY) College, provide Darius inspiration while keeping him grounded.
"They always been the motivators there for me," Hillary said of his family. "I know last year when I played with my brother whenever he did good it made me want to better."
Getting better is a big goal for the 'Aves defender, but he knows that improvement doesn't just happen.
"First I am going to work on getting into the weight room because that helps out a lot," Hillary claimed. "The second thing I am going to work on is my footwork so I can keep up with those receivers."
In addition, to his individual success and goals Hillary is optimistic about what lies ahead for Sycamore in the season ahead.
"I think if we really put our minds to it and work hard in the weight room and are disciplined enough I think we can pull it off this season and have a great season," he claimed.
FINAL TAKE: Hillary possesses both the ability and the desire necessary for success and that is evident by his rapidly growing offer list. Expect him to be a big part of Sycamore's climb back to respectability in 2010. He should be considered amongst the top secondary players in the conference with the potential to be considered amongst the best in the entire Tri-state area by season's end.