Stephen Hill didn't get a whole lot of passes thrown his way the past few years in Georgia Tech's run-heavy offense, but the New York Jets are trying to make up for it during training camp and preseason.
Hill has lined up as a starter since the beginning of OTAs, and the rookie wideout has been the team's top receiver in preseason action.
Good and bad, it's been a trial-by-fire kind of summer for Hill.
"I think he is playing so much, on the practice field and everything else," Jets coach Rex Ryan told the media Tuesday. "He is getting a ton of reps which is great for a rookie. That is what you want."
Hill is averaging 11.8 yards a reception through three preseason games. Five of his nine exhibition catches came Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. However, Hill also had a major hiccup when he let a perfectly-thrown ball from Mark Sanchez bounce off his hands and into the opponent's possession.
The one for the interception, that was a killer, there is no question about that," Ryan said. "That was an absolute killer. We just have to be consistent, watch the ball in. He certainly has the skill to be a fine receiver, it is just a matter of really focusing in, catching that ball first and then let him use his explosive speed."
The Jets need Hill to get up to top speed fast. With a handful of his fellow receivers and Gang Green's tight ends getting hampered with injuries and setbacks, the Sanchez-to-Hill connection will be critical.
Plus, Hill's skills as a run-blocker will be utilized to the fullest extent in Gang Green's ground-and-pound offense.
"I think he is picking up the offense well," Ryan said. "I think he has done a lot of really good things and there are some things that we think he can improve in. That’s why he keeps working as hard as he is and as all of us are.
"I think this guy is really going to be a tremendous player for us. We really believe that. Obviously, we would like that to be sooner rather than later, but he did some good things."