St. Xavier’s Hilliard, Glines Earn National Recognition


Posted on 11/27/2014 at 10:57am

It’s been a week of national recognition for two senior members of the St. Xavier football team, Justin Hilliard and Ben Glines.  On Monday, it was announced that Hilliard – the Bombers’ senior linebacker and a verbal commit to The Ohio State University – is one of just five finalists for the prestigious Dick Butkus Award, presented annually to the top high school linebacker.  On Wednesday, Glines – a senior running back who has committed to Boston College – was selected to the United State Under-19 football team, which is directed by USA Football.

Hilliard is a first team All-Greater Catholic League South selection after helping St. Xavier finish 10-3, earn a share of the GCL South league championship along with La Salle and Moeller, and then win seven consecutive games to earn a trip to the Division I, Region 2 semifinals, where the Bombers lost to GCL rival Moeller, 21-0, last Saturday at Mason High School.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Hilliard finished the season with 71 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for a Bombers’ defense that allowed only 15 points and 221 yards per game during the regular season.  Hilliard, who was named to the U.S. Army All-American team last week, will find out De3cember 9 if he is the second area linebacker to win the Butkus Award.

Named after former Chicago Bear linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Dick Butkus, the award is presented annually to linebackers at three levels of football – high school, college and the NFL.  Former Lakota West standout Jordan Hicks, now a linebacker at the University of Texas, won the second-ever Butkus Award after his senior season with the Firebirds, in December 2009.

The selection of Glines to the U.S. national team was first reported Wednesday by Mike Dyer of The Enquirer.   Glines and the U.S. team will play Team Canada on February 7 at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Like Hilliard, Glines was selected by league coaches to be a first team All-GCL South member after rushing for 1,224 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.  Glines also was named first team all-district.

St. Xavier head coach Steve Specht has been actively involved with USA Football, the sport’s national governing body.  Specht joined the independent nonprofit’s Board of Directors in October 2013.  Specht served as head coach of the 2012 U.S. Under-19 National Team and defensive coordinator in 2009, leading Team USA to a gold medal in the 2009 IFAF Under-19 World Championship.