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FIU football standout talks juggling academics and athletics

FIU football standout talks juggling academics and athletics

Demetrius Hill has impressed fans on the field, but what he does in class counts too

October 13, 2022 at 9:41am

By Nick Sutton

FIU star defensive back Demetrius Hill has had a busy season so far, showing up all over the field with big plays. The Panther has started all five games to date and looks forward to Friday night's showdown at 7 p.m. against the University of Texas, San Antonio, at FIU Stadium. This season, the redshirt freshman has been turning heads and making a name for himself, amassing 43 total tackles, a stat in which he leads the team.

But Hill knows football is just one half of any successful student-athlete's life. The sports management major knows that earning a degree remains the end goal. To get there, he and his teammates must walk a fine line: balance studies with sports. Learning to do that is critical to Hill's success, just as it is for every FIU student-athlete.

First, how do you manage your time between practice, games and travel with the time you need to read, study and go to class?
Like my parents always tell me, I’m a student-athlete, so I always get my schoolwork done first. I get it out of the way early in the week so that I have the rest of the week to focus on football and get ready for the next opponent.

What does FIU do to help you guys be successful in your studies?
The people at the SAC [Student-Athlete Academic Center] are amazing. Anytime I need tutoring, help with my studies, they’re there.

Do you guys ever take books and schoolwork on the road? Is that encouraged?
I always take my laptop and textbooks that I need according to the week or the assignment that I have to get done.

You put a lot of energy into the game. How do you then regroup to cover the academic side?
It’s not as easy as people would think or say it is. It’s kind of mentally hard but, you know, at the end of the day, you’ve got to push through. You’re a student-athlete, you’ve got to get the grades.

I've heard from other players that Coach Mac has been a very positive influence on you guys. Does he ever address the academic side?
Yes, always. He told us to be centered on the football field and off the football field. He’s high on class, hard on us to get our grades. I love that from a coach. I’ve never had it before, but I love how hard he is on us with things like that.”

People are giving you lots of props for your work on the field, even comparing you to the great Johnathan Cyprien. How are you feeling these days about the team and the season moving forward?
We’re in a rebuilding process. I really trust Coach Mac and my other coaches, and they trust in us. As We continue to build that trust, we’ll win more games, everything will come together.

What do you want to say to the fans in terms of getting them to show up for the game on Friday night?
I would love for everyone to come out, just like they did for the homecoming game and the first home game. Home games are the best. When our school supports us, that boosts the whole team. It’s always awesome to have my friends, my classmates, even sometimes my professors in the stands. I know they’re there somewhere, cheering us on, so it feels really good.