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Guns Up Nation with Former Texas Tech Red Raider and current Berlin Thunder Defensive End Kolin Hill

Photo CC: Texas Tech

Our very own Jacob Harris sat down with former Red Raider and current member of the Berlin Thunder Kolin Hill. Hill opens up about what he has been doing since Graduation from Texas Tech and how he got to Europe! Our conversation is below!

Harris: Whenever you were at Notre Dame, whenever you were transferring, what about Texas Tech stood out to you?

Hill: “You know, even when I was in high school, I was getting recruited there from Coach Mike Jinks, who was a coach at Steele High School, which was right down the road from where I went.

And just, you know, being from just seeing how he was able to change the whole program around at school and win a state title and everything. And then from that going from that to like going to Texas Tech to get the running backs job. I felt like I had a tire there like even though I didn’t play for him, I knew him. Whenever the opportunity came where I saw where I was going to transfer, I just knew, like plus I got recruited by I’m like, you know, why not go play for this guy?

You know, he’s not my position coach, but I have no relation. I knew I knew somebody, you know, and I was like, let me go to Texas Tech. And I knew Justin Stockton (former Texas Tech Running Back) to be like, OK, we’re all from the same area. So I just felt comfortable with Texas Tech.”

Harris: What was it like playing under a guy like Coach Kingsbury, obviously with the huge looking personality and how he kind of handles himself?

Hill: “Honestly, it was amazing. The reason being was like he allowed you to be you know, he didn’t like, take away from the players. You know, he knew all the personalities that we had on the team, but yet he was still able to coach us. You know, he was a player’s coach. You know, there’s not a lot of players, coaches out there is kind of rare to have. And, you know, you want to ride like that.

And that’s why he able he’s doing what he’s doing to Arizona for a reason because he’s a player’s coach. The players respect him and you want to work with somebody like that. So that’s how I felt about it. I just he was a guy that, you know, we’re a grown man and he let us handle what we had to do outside the field, didn’t judge us or anything like that. So who wouldn’t want to play for somebody like that?”

Harris: I’d always heard things like that about him, because I was at Tech at that time. I had classes with a bunch of teammates and stuff like that. So I heard a ton of good stuff about Kingsbury. And I’m always interested to ask because, you know, he was he really was and still is such is it is such a player’s coach.

Hill: “You know, it hurt when he had to go. Yeah. You know, I just remember the plane right after the game, like how quiet it was because, you know, they broke the news on the way home. You know, it wasn’t even like we weren’t even that day that went by, really. You could go on Twitter. I have so much respect for that man because, you know, like that was on the news that he handled, that he handled that whole situation with class and everything. You know, he was just, you know, that’s the kind of person he was. “

Harris: Since leaving Texas Tech, what have you what have you been up to?

Hill: “After leaving Texas Tech I participated in a Pro Day and all that stuff and I did not get a mini-camp invite. I did not get anything as far as you know NFL like nothing you know so I was kind of just for a while there I just did not know what I was going to do you know so I just decided to get a job. I got a job working at FedEx, so I was a package handler working at FedEx. After that, I decided to go to Orange Theory Fitness which one honestly working for that company was one of the best things that I could have you know done because it really opened me up as a person. I would say before working there I was shyer more reserved you know did not want to talk much to anybody or open to anybody. Working there you know pushed me out of my shell out of my comfort zone and you know just allowed me to just you know meet tons of great people you know along the way. People who you know knew who didn’t really know that side of me you know they didn’t know they it’s like you know I kind of got back home because that’s where I went back home, and it was like I went back home and it was kind of like I just was disappeared like nobody really knew who I was kind of thing because like you know this is there’s like a new version of me. I was working on a new version of me I yeah like I feel like now it is just completely different than before because like leading up to it was not like I was just I was kind of like the ghost I have hidden nobody really knew what I was doing. I was continuing to train you I have a trainer who I have been with since I was a junior in high school his name is David Ashley. I have been with him almost I almost said eight or nine years like something like that.

This guy has literally you know stuck by my side through thick and thin you know. I just remember leaving Texas tech and like I said everybody who I knew everybody who I thought was there for me just kind of disappeared like it’s kind of like just how it is though you know sometimes you just you find out who’s really there for you who’s really not. I don’t know it’s like you know that’s just part of life you know. I had to learn that and I learned you know that I had my family and I have you know David Ashley you know coach Ash with me at all times and so I was he kept me on the right track you know. Even though I was working at Orange Theory Fitness and doing all these things I had a lot going on besides just football he kept me on track with football and like what I was trying to get to you know he kept me focused on my dreams because sometimes you know you get so distracted with work you get so consumed work and all the different personalities and everything you lose sight of what you really want to do or what your focus is and that’s what it was sometimes. I would drift in and out of like you know it is like I will lose touch with what I wanted but coach ash kept me on track and I’m glad that I had somebody like that because if I didn’t have them, I don’t know I don’t think I would be here I don’t think I would be in Berlin, to be honest with you like I would probably still be working. My dream would have been probably over, but I had him and he kept me on the right track he kept me focused throughout those two years because it was, I was I graduated in 2018 and throughout those two years I was working with Coach Ash and I stayed ready I stayed prepared. Even though I was still working at Orange Theory training those people I also was doing my own thing. I was training some kids some youth in my neighborhood doing that. I just was back in my community but actually a part of the community like in a different way you know before when I was in high school you know I was in the community but this was a more you know I felt like I was doing something for the greater good just like I was changing people’s lives. I really did when I worked at Orange Theory Fitness people noticed or people you know respected me because I was affecting their lives for a positive in a positive way you know I motivated them and they loved that so that’s what I found out about my I found out more about myself throughout these two years than I ever would have you know and I’m glad sometimes you got to go through you know adversity you got to go through things to really find out who you are and that’s what it was you know that’s what it was because I feel like I tell myself this all the time if I had just got it if I had got the contract wherever the case may be to get into the NFL. I don’t think I would have been who I am you know I learned I learned a lot these two years I grew a lot these two years so I’m here I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m just ready to go man.”

Harris: How did you come upon this opportunity in Germany?

Hill: “So crazy thing is like when I was working at FedEx I had a buddy of mine he actually told me about how one of his teammates. He played at Houston Baptist one of his teammates playing all over in Europe you know getting played paid to play ball I was trying to go anywhere I was trying to go to CFL wasn’t doing anything. Nobody contacted me back so you know he said something about Europe and I’m like okay that sounds interesting like how much do they make and he told me. He told me the experience that they have like they pay for the apartment just you know all the perks okay that’s awesome how do I get involved in that. He was like just sign up online and put your highlight out there you know all that stuff. So, that’s what I did I put my highlight up you know and I was able to get an account set up and everything to where teams could view me and they could message me.

People were starting to contact me from all over you know not even just Germany but all over you know Spain, Italy, France, you know all types of places over here. I ended up getting in contact with Patrick Esumi, he’s really famous here in Germany actually he’s like a sports broadcaster really famous he was he played in NFL Europe too so he’s the one who contacted me. He contacted me on Instagram this was when I was working at Orange Theory Fitness and said hey would you be interested in playing ball in Elmshorn you know Elmshorn in Germany. He just has a personality though like if you ever talk to this guy or just if you watched him on tv or anything like that he would this guy’s like you know he has that energy that’s contagious you just want to be around.

I like that you know so I’m like man I’m all in on that like yeah let’s do it coach because he was going to be my defensive coordinator so I’m like yeah let’s go like I’m ready to go to I’m ready to go but then you know COVID happened. Fast forward now Patrick Esumi he is the commissioner of this league that I’m in right now European League of Football so he’s the Commissioner now and I was still in contact with the guy. That’s when I got the opportunity here you know just I stayed in contact with Coach Esumi throughout the whole process I was originally going to go play was thinking about signing and Stuttgart they’re called the Stuttgart surge okay originally anything about signing there. I had conversations with my Head Coach here at Berlin, just had a conversation with him really solid guy you know really feel like his scheme fits for me you know it’s not too complicated it’s pretty simple clear-cut and I feel like you know it’s going to allow me to make plays. I just felt like Berlin that’s the best decision.”

Harris: What position will you be playing? Will it be similar to the rush end you played at Texas Tech?

Hill: “It’s going to be the same thing sort of playing boundary end.”

Harris: Do you know very much about style of play differences between the league you’re playing in now and the NFL?

Hill: “It’s just like it would be an NFL it’s just in Europe so you know the same rules everything that’s why I feel like going to allow me to get the film and everything that I need to get over back to the states so they can see like all right let’s do this dude been here the whole time!”

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