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The Rise of Cajuns DE Zi'Yon Hill

New Iberia native led Cajuns DL in tackles in 2020
Zi'yon Hill UL Football.jpg
Posted at 11:40 PM, Jul 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 00:40:25-04

Year one of Patrick Toney as Louisiana's defensive coordinator was a success. The Cajuns ranked in the top 40 nationally in scoring defense and total defense.

A big part of the defense's rise was the play of defensive end Zi'yon Hill.

"I've started the last 2 season going on my 3rd year starting. Zi'yon is the best defensive lineman I've ever went against," Cajuns senior center Shane Vallot said. "Even counting Mississippi State, Iowa State. I'd put him against anybody. He's fast. He's twitchy. People may say he's small. But that's the best thing about him."

The New Iberia native led all Cajuns D-linemen with 49 tackles, 4 sacks and 5 TFLs in 2020.

The Catholic High product was named a Pro Football Focus Honorable Mention All-American. He made the team alongside former Acadiana star Bralen Trahan, who was a 2nd Team All-American.

"That was big. That's stuff that kids dream of. That's some stuff you say in the yard, like 'All American Zi'yon Hill' growing up," Hill explained. "As soon as we got that, I facetimed Bralen and me and him on the phone were like, this is the same stuff we talked about coming in as freshmen. That's the same things we used to dream about. That was big. My mom called me crying, she was excited. She was more happy than me."

The honor was humbling for Hill, but it also brings a new level of expectations into 2021.

"I'm blessed that I made All-American. But that was last year, so now I'm not an All-American anymore. Last year I finished with 4 sacks. This year I want to try to get 10-12 sacks. That's my goal for this year."
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