Combine notebook: Holton Hill talks about departure from Texas

Former Texas cornerback Holton Hill spoke publicly for the first time since he announced that he was leaving school early to turn pro.

Hill didn’t reveal the reasons for his suspension nine games into the 2017 season, but said he left Texas on good terms with coach Tom Herman and his staff. He was arguably the best playmaking corner in the Big 12 during his junior year with a pair of touchdowns on interceptions and also one of the best tacklers the program has produced in the last handful of seasons.

Hill also spent plenty of time in former coach Charlie Strong’s doghouse in his first two seasons on campus. When asked if his junior numbers, coupled with his most recent suspension played a role in his decision to turn pro, Hill said it did play a factor.

“I took all of that into consideration with me making my decision to leave,” he said. “I felt like I got everything I needed out of the collegiate level.”

Of all the Longhorns in Indianapolis, Hill may have the biggest upside because of his rangy 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame that has some comparing him to all-pro corner Richard Sherman. The two actually have some history as Hill participated in a Nike Sparq Combine that Sherman worked when Hill was attending Houston Lamar High.

“He’s the guy I always looked up to the most,” Hill said. “He told me to always work hard and compete, to always have that edge and believe no one in the lineup is on your level.”

Where was Chuck?

I spent part of Saturday trying to locate former Texas coach Charlie Strong since several colleagues had told me he had been spotted at the convention center, presumably to support his players, including talented South Florida QB Quinton Flowers.

Alas, I wasn’t able to hook up with Chuck. It would have been cool since we haven’t spoken since he was let go at Texas.

I wonder if he was ducking me.

I hate horseradish

Several of my colleagues couldn’t stop talking about this St. Elmo Steak House located within a walk of the convention center. It’s apparently famous for its shrimp cocktail dish so I decided to take it in with former Statesman intern Shannon Green, who writes for the Orlando Sentinel.

“We sell more shrimp cocktails than any restaurant in the country,” said Courtney, our server. “It’s spicy, though.”

That’s all I needed to hear. What Courtney didn’t mention was the shrimp was drowned in cocktail sauce. I always get the sauce on the side but hey, this was St. Elmo’s, right? Who was I to question the serving suggestion?

I took a big bite of that jumbo shrimp and my nose hairs evaporated in an instant. My sinuses cleared and my eyes produced tears of pain. They should rename that dish St. Elmo’s Fire.

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