Many expected the 2018 football season to be Trevon Hill’s breakout year. A junior defensive end at Virginia Tech, Hill was a budding star pass rusher for Bud Foster’s defense.
Then, after the Hokies’ stunning upset loss at Old Dominion on Sept. 22, Hill’s year ended. He was dismissed from the program.
“It was really hard, being that football is that foundation for me to be able to put not only myself but also my family in a great position,” Hill said. “So taking the game away from me, was like taking a piece of my heart.”
Wednesday, for the first time since his dismissal and just over a day after publicly addressing his situation on Twitter, Hill agreed to an online interview, opening up about the incident that led to his dismissal and what might be next for him.
Hill said that a fiery — but not physical — confrontation between himself and a Tech staff member at halftime of the team’s loss to Old Dominion on Sept. 22 resulted in his dismissal. Hill still played the second half of that game, and left the stadium unaware any discipline was headed his way, he said.
Then, the following day, he met with Tech coach Justin Fuente and was told he was being dismissed.
“You can ask Justin about why, cause I’m still confused,” Hill said Wednesday. “It was a lot of confusion when talking to me and my parents. He was being wishy-washy. And I lost a lot of respect for somebody I had a lot of respect for. Even though I didn’t like him much, I had respect for him. But I completely lost all my respect for that man.”
Through a team spokesman, Fuente declined to comment.
In September when he announced the move, Fuente said in a statement, “After consultation with our coaching staff and administration at Virginia Tech, Trevon Hill has been dismissed from the football team effective immediately for not upholding the high standards that we have for our student-athletes at Virginia Tech.
“I will always put the interests of Virginia Tech and our team first no matter how difficult those decisions may be.”
Asked about the dismissal again the following week, Fuente said, “We’ve been continually monitoring and talking about things since we’ve been here. So, there’s no individual particular incident other than — Trevon knows how I feel, and we have very frank and honest conversations. Those conversations will remain private, but it’s not one incident.”
The Hokies finished 6-7, losing to Cincinnati in last month’s Military Bowl.
Hill remained enrolled at Virginia Tech and is on pace to graduate in May, he said. He spent the remainder of the past season watching the Hokies’ games and even attended the loss to Georgia Tech on Oct. 25 and its win over Marshall on Dec. 1.
“Definitely had to support my dawgs,” Hill said. “I love them boys.”
Immediately after Clemson beat Alabama on Monday for the national championship, Hill broke his silence about his dismissal, tweeting a statement that thanked former coach Frank Beamer, former assistant Bryan Stinespring and current staff members Bud Foster and Charlie Wiles.
“All I ever wanted was the best for my team,” Hill tweeted. “I never had any intentions to hurt my team or to bring them down in any way. I’m a very passionate player that plays with a lot of heart and tenacity. Where I’m from we don’t take losing lightly, and I just wanted to instill that in my teammates and bring the best out of them.”
Hill starred at Salem High School in Virginia Beach before leaving school in November of his senior year to finish at Renaissance Academy, an alternative school in Virginia Beach for students who have academic, discipline or behavioral problems.
At Tech, he redshirted in 2015, then played in 27 games over the next two seasons, starting 16 and heading into 2018 as an emerging star.
He had 11 tackles in three games — leading the team with 4.5 tackles for loss and 3½ sacks — before being dismissed.
Now, Hill is focused on what’s next. Following graduation, he plans to transfer and hopes to be playing Division I football again next season.
He’s stayed in shape since his dismissal, running and doing push-ups and sit-ups, and said he’s still at his playing weight of 240 pounds.
“Honestly felt dead inside, but I’ve been through a lot in my life,” Hill said. “So I just turned all the negative energy into positive energy.”
He declined to name the schools where he’s considering transferring.
Hill said his family and former teammates helped get him through his tough year away from football, and said he spent a lot of time reading, especially the Bible.
“Teaching me to keep faith,” Hill said.