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Hill undecided on leaving early

PULLMAN – Perhaps it’s an inevitability of having a star-quality season as a junior, but the questions are starting to come in more regularly to Jason Hill and Washington State about the wide receiver’s chances of going pro a year early.

On a Tuesday morning conference call, head coach Bill Doba said he hadn’t yet talked to Hill about the possibility. But it’s clear that both Hill and the coaching staff know that the possibility of the junior entering the draft after this season exists.

“I’m still debating everything,” Hill said, reiterating a sentiment he expressed earlier this season. “I’m going to wait until the end of the season, definitely before I even start thinking about it as seriously as I need to.”

Doba did say on the conference call that he’d offer this advice to Hill:

“If he can go in that first five or six or 10 picks then I think it’s worth it to go,” Doba said. “Because I wouldn’t stop a guy from making umpteen million. And we’ll poll the NFL teams. Our (graduate assistants) will start calling pro scouts and I’ve talked to some pro scouts. If it’s in his best interests then I’ll help him make that decision. But if he goes in the second day or the second round or the third round, then those are all slots and there’s no advantage to going out early other than the fact that you’re going to make an extra year of income.”

Stringing together big games as Hill has done this year is an obvious influence, and the junior had none bigger than the one Saturday night at California, playing a short drive from his hometown of San Francisco. Hill caught six passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns, all in front of more than 50 members of his family.

“There are a lot of Hills in San Francisco,” he joked. Hill added that he has spoken with his mother about the possible leap to the NFL. “We talk about it. We actually talked about it a little bit after the Cal game. I have her blessing with whatever I do.

“I think I’m almost ready for the next level. But at the end of the season I’ll know about that a little more.”

Injury bug bites

Hill has been struggling with a thigh injury, even if the results from Cal wouldn’t suggest it. A bruised quadriceps at Oregon State held him out against Stanford and Hill said it’s limited him ever since.

The junior bruised the same thigh again – on the side, not directly on the muscle – when a player stepped on him Saturday. As a result, Hill sat out Tuesday’s practice although he’s expected to participate today.

Running back Jerome Harrison was also out to nurse a sore shoulder. So too was second-string running back DeMaundray Woolridge, battling the flu. And third-stringer Kevin McCall remains out with an ankle injury. That meant running backs coach Kelly Skipper had two healthy players to work with in practice Tuesday, Jed Collins and Brandon Asuega-Stark. (Freshman Dwight Tardy was playing Reggie Bush for the scout team and as a result wasn’t doing running back drills.)

Cornerback Omowale Dada also sat out practice and is still questionable to play Saturday.


Kickoff time for the Nov. 5 home game against Arizona State has been set for 2 p.m. No television station has decided to pick up the game. … Senior wide receivers Marty Martin and Trandon Harvey were working on punt returns Tuesday as Michael Bumpus (high ankle sprain) is almost certainly out for at least this week. … Tardy wasn’t the only player donning USC numbers. Walk-on receivers Kipp Curtis and Jesse Baines were playing Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett, respectively.

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