Last season, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, but was ultimately snubbed of the opportunity to win the honor. Now, Georgia center Trey Hill is named to the 2020 preseason watch list, which is given to the nation’s top interior lineman.
Hill is entering his second full season as a starter after serving as Georgia’s center for all 14 games last season. He also made four starts at right guard in 2018 and those 18 total make him UGA”s most experienced offensive lineman coming into the 2020 season. He currently has two more than fifth-year senior Ben Cleveland.
“Trey comes in and meets extra, as a center has to do, to call fronts, to get looks, to really watch tape and be the master of his trade,” Kirby Smart said of Hill last September. “Jake (Fromm) does that too, so Jake helps with it. I mean, it helps having a guy that has a lot of experience and is as bright as Jake is.”
“I think Trey can really focus on giving 6 seconds of strain is what I call it,” Smart added. “He’s got to strain longer and harder in order to improve. He’s playing well, but he can be better. That’s what we are trying to get out of Trey is his best self. How does he get his best self? He’s got to strain a little harder.”
Hill replaced Lamont Gaillard at center in 2019 and struggled in some of the earlier games, but got better as the season went on. Sporting News already named Hill a preseason second-team All American after a year where Pro Football Focus named him as the nation’s best pass protecting center. In 433 pass blocking snaps, Hill only allowed two pressures from defenders, according to PFF.
Hill is one of Georgia’s few returning linemen who has a lot of playing experience. The Bulldogs lost three starters to the 2020 NFL Draft and one consistent starter transferred out of the program. Thomas went to the New York Giants as the No. 4 overall pick while Isaiah Wilson went No. 29 overall to Tennessee. Those two guys served as Georgia’s starting tackles and starting left guard Solomon Kindley was taken in the fourth-round by Miami. Cade Mays transferred unexpectedly to Tennessee. Hill will likely have Cleveland on his right side and senior Justin Shaffer on his left.
The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in the nation as it enters its 75th year. The winner will be announced in early December towards the end of the season.