Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill proud of his South Georgia roots

Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill was elated to speak about his family and his South Georgia roots.

He’s from Pearson, in Atkinson County, but moved while in high school to a neighboring county to play at Coffee High.

“I was raised in Pearson, Georgia,” Hill said. “I moved to Coffee High around ninth grade. My grandparents thought I needed a change. They wanted me to be something in life.”

Hill was reluctant at first.

“My eighth-grade year they told me, ‘Tyreek, we are going to move you to a bigger school. You’re a special kid,’” Hill recalled the conversation. “What, ‘I don’t want to move from all of my friends. I want to have fun.’ They were like, there is going to come a time in your life where you have to be responsible.

“You have to be able to take care of yourself. I never understood what they were talking about. So, I moved to a bigger school in the ninth grade and made new friends. I met some tremendous guys that are still my guys to this day.”

Hill is proud of Pearson, though.

“I still claim Pearson, Georgia, until this day,” Hill said. “I love Pearson, Georgia.”

But Hill wasn’t fond of school or school work. He just loved football and running track. He was state champion in the 100 and 200 meters in Class AAAAA in 2012.

With his talent, why didn’t Georgia or Georgia Tech recruit him?

“The reason I went to junior college is because I didn’t have the grades,” Hill said. “I was one of those kids. I was never going to class. I was never going to be responsible. I wanted to hang with the cool kids. I wanted to do what I wanted to do.”

So, off he went to Garden City (Kan.) Community College, where Hill played football and continued to run track. He also found his way to class and learned to study.

“I started liking (school),” Hill said. “When you start getting those coaches coming down to see you, you start realizing I want to see some more of that. I’m going to start going to class.

“I started doing really well. I graduated from my JUCO with a 3.5 (GPA). I couldn’t believe I did that. I really couldn’t. I was a kid who failed my graduation test. It was crazy. My senior year in high school, I didn’t even walk across the stage because I failed the graduation test.”

The one constant was Hill’s love for football. His dad liked the Steelers. His mother was a big Peyton Manning fan, and he liked Randy Moss, the Minnesota Vikings and Deion Sanders.

“I wanted to be fast just like those guys,” Hill said. “I wanted to make plays just like those guys. I grew up loving the game. I loved the way they showboated on the way to the end zone. I loved the way they danced in the end zone.”

But why did Hill, who’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, pick football over track, a non-contact sport?

“I played middle linebacker in middle school,” Hill said. “I averaged like 10 tackles a game. I was too small. I couldn’t see over the line once I got into the 10th grade. So, they had to move me.”

After junior college, Hill went to Oklahoma State, but was later dismissed after being arrested in a domestic-violence case. He finished his career at West Alabama before the Chiefs selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.

Last April, Hill was suspended from all team activities because of an ongoing child-abuse investigation. The NFL decided not to suspend Hill after concluding their investigation.

After he was cleared, Hill signed a three-year, $54 million extension before the season.


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