Signed: In 2008 from Cypress Ridge HS
2009 Key Stat: 3. That's the number of picks Royce Hill had last season, which wasn't good enough for any all-conference honors, but good enough to lead the team. The only disappointing part to Royce's season last year was the end. He tailed off towards the end of the season as two of his three interceptions came in the first two games.
Why he will start: Hill is arguably the best player in the secondary, much less at cornerback. He took a leadership role as just a sophomore last season and he is firmly entrenched as the starting cornerback.
Why he won't start: The shoulder injury that kept him out of the spring is lingering into the fall and he's unable to get back to 100 percent. Very doubtful though, Hill's coming into the fall camp as the team's No. 1 lockdown corner and a less than 100 percent Hill is still a better option potential back-up's.
Don't forget: Hill can return kicks. Last season, the revolving door of kick returners saw Hill be one of the most effective. He averaged 26.3 yards a kick return and had the best return of the year of 73 yards against Middle Tennessee. With Hill and Jamaal Jackson returning kicks last season, North Texas finally had much more production from a return unit that was dormant for the previous two seasons. Hill also took part in punt returns, but look for him to stay with kick-off returns and let Darius Carey take over the punt returning chores.
Overall: Hill has all-conference talent and this should be the year that happens. He's been a two-year starter as a pup and now as an upperclassman he has the experience at the cornerback position that will give him an edge. Hill's going to have to be patient because the ball will not come his way that often. Most opponents will choose the other side of the Mean Green's secondary to attack with a new starter lining up at that spot this year. If Hill can be a "lockdown" guy, then safety help over the top will not be necessary on his side, which will free up the secondary for other spots.