Mississippi State’s Hill opts out to prepare for NFL draft

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill tweets that he is leaving school to prepare for the NFL draft, citing his brother’s recovery from brain surgery and COVID-19, which also affected his mother.

In the first of two posts on his official Twitter account, the senior wrote that uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic “forced all of us to adapt as best as possible.” Hill said he decided to enter the draft after talking with his family and added, “This has been an incredibly difficult decision, but one that I feel is best for me at this time.”

Hill had missed most of the Bulldogs’ past three games, and first-year Bulldogs coach Mike Leach repeatedly said the player was not with the team for personal reasons. Just last week, Leach said he hadn’t talked with him but heard Hill was preparing to enter the NFL draft.

Hill explained his absence in another post.

“My family was hit with Covid bad and my brother recently had brain surgery & also got Covid including my mom,” Hill wrote. “Want to Thank Coach Leach for giving me time to myself and understanding my situation & how stressed out I was about it which he never rushed me (with a heart emoji) thanks for helping”

Hill, an All-Southeastern Conference selection who rushed for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, had a key role in Mississippi State’s pass-oriented Air Raid offense. He caught 23 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown the first three games, highlighted by 15 receptions at Kentucky and a career-best 158 yards in the opener at LSU.

This spring Hill had threatened to boycott unless the Mississippi state flag, which contained a Confederate emblem, was changed. State legislators retired the polarizing flag after mounting public pressure.

The Bulldogs (1-4 Southeastern Conference) have lost four in a row entering Saturday’s home game against Vanderbilt (0-4).

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