Skip to main content
West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019 5 months ago

UCF football standout Trysten Hill gets NFL Draft ready

The junior defensive tackle is preparing for the upcoming draft at Total Athlete Training in Winter Garden.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

Despite his 6-foot-3, 308-pound frame, every move Trysten Hill makes is clean, with a swan-like grace.

His hands are quick and strong, and his explosiveness allows him to move with power and precision as he works through drills under the watchful eye of trainer Dan Bessetti.

It’s here, at Bessetti’s Total Athlete Training facility in Winter Garden, where the UCF standout is preparing for one of the biggest moments of his life: The upcoming NFL Draft.

“I’m excited for it, you know?” Hill said. “I think I’m ready for it. I’m just excited to see how the ball is going to roll in my favor and how everything is going to happen. It’s nothing short of a blessing. I know everything that I’ve worked for since I was 5 — playing football — is going to make a difference.”

Over the past two weeks, Hill has made TAT his training grounds, working out in private sessions with Bessetti as he tries to stay in peak condition during this critical time of his football career.

For the junior defensive lineman, the path to the draft followed UCF’s final game of the season, during which the Knights fell to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.

Despite only starting once in 11 games during the 2018 campaign, Hill still had his most productive season — racking up 36 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks at the defensive tackle position. In his first two years, Hill started in all 26 games for the Knights under former head coach Scott Frost.

“I had accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish at UCF,” Hill said. “I had bought in a lot into the program, and we made a lot of stuff happen. I was proud at what I did and what the whole team did, and I realized it was just time for me to move on. I believe I have the ability to play at the next level.”

What followed for Hill was a stint training in Arizona in preparation for the NFL Combine, in which he participated last month in Indianapolis. Hill endured the same rigors all NFL hopefuls face — going through a slew of interviews, and tests of physical and mental strength.

His stat lines were strong, and part of the official overview stated that he was a “gap bandit who disrupted running games and spent time harassing quarterbacks with consistent effort and hustle.”

The experience was probably one of the best parts so far of the pre-draft process, Hill said.

“It’s absolutely controlled chaos, and it’s absolutely amazing,” Hill said. “Being around those athletes — some of the top players that are coming out this year — and being able to compete against those guys is just awesome. It was everything that they said that it was — and a little bit more — but I definitely didn’t take it for granted.”

After the combine, Hill came back to Orlando, and that was when Bessetti and TAT came into his current journey.

Bessetti was put into contact with Hill thanks to a UCF student who has been interning at TAT. Since then, it’s been about training and helping Hill get ready for the onslaught of workouts he will have to undertake.

Currently, Hill has about a dozen private workouts with a number of NFL organizations, and he needs to stay in the best shape that he can to show off his abilities. 

“It’s a little bit different than if he was just preparing for football season, because we can’t — right now — do a lot of lifting and things like that, because it would essentially be too taxing and would be wearing him out,” Bessetti said. “And when you lift, you need to have a continuity of it — you need to be doing it two, three to four times per week on a regular basis — and because of his traveling schedule, it just doesn’t fit on there. 

“I think I’m ready for it. I’m just excited to see how the ball is going to roll in my favor and how everything is going to happen. It’s nothing short of a blessing. I know everything that I’ve worked for since I was 5 — playing football — is going to make a difference.”

— Trysten Hill

“It’s kind of like an in-season amount of strengthening and lifting, with a preseason amount of conditioning,” he said. “So that when the football coaches for the Rams, Colts or any of them really start to put him through the paces and put him through the defensive line drills — he has to be able to execute and not get tired.”

Like any sport, the mental aspect of football is just as important as being able to shed a block or complete a tackle. So although he is limited on what he can work with Hill on physically, Bessetti can go full bore on helping hime get stronger between the ears. A big part of that growth comes from getting Hill to mentally block out things such as fatigue.

“When you do get pressed and you do get tired, how do you react to it?” Bessetti said. “Don’t look like you’re tired; You might be tired, but don’t take a knee, don’t sit down — stand up, keep working and catch your breath.”

Hill will have several more sessions with Bessetti before the draft — which starts Thursday, April 25 — to go along with those numerous private workouts and interviews with teams.

There’s no telling where Hill will end up, but Hill said he doesn’t have a preference.

“I (want to go) anywhere that I can go,” he said. “I just want to get my foot in the door and make the team — that’s what I’m most excited about. I just want to make a team and then after that win football games.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

See All Articles by Troy

Related Stories