Winton Woods soccer star Justin Hill announces verbal commitment to college

FOREST PARK, Ohio — Winton Woods senior linebacker and edge rusher Justin Hill announced Wednesday afternoon that he has made a verbal commitment to the University of Alabama.

Hill, a four-star player, made the long-awaited announcement on his 17th birthday in the Winton Woods High School gymnasium, surrounded by family, friends and coaches.

“I’m blessed, but I’m just taking it all in,” Hill said after his verbal commitment. “All these people, who I love and who love me, who came here to see me. … They only want the best for me.”

Hill told WCPO 9 that he made the decision Tuesday night and informed Alabama outside linebackers coach Christian Robinson of his choice Wednesday morning. Hill said he spoke with Robinson and was the only coach he told his decision to.

“I really made my decision 100 percent last night,” Hill said. “It just came down to me, you know, just in my room, figuring out what’s right, what I need to excel at.”

Hill, rated Ohio’s No. 4 player in the 2025 class and the nation’s No. 7 edge rusher by 247 Sports, narrowed his choices to Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon and the University of Southern California as his finalists. He took official visits to all four programs in June.

A large crowd waited patiently for Hill’s decision during the scheduled ceremony early Wednesday afternoon.

Hill said he felt blessed to have such a ceremony for family, friends and supporters, and he became emotional at times as he spoke to the crowd.

A large group of reporters asked him questions after the ceremony.

“I grew up an Ohio State fan,” Hill said. “I have family that is Ohio State fans and they want me to go to Ohio State, but they love me because they don’t care where I want to go. They just know it’s great for me and they want the best for me.”

The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Hill has impressed college coaches during a recruiting campaign that has seen him receive nearly 30 scholarship offers since October 2021.

Cameras, microphones and phones recorded the entire ceremony on Wednesday afternoon. Photos were taken and memories were made.

“What an absolutely incredible day,” Winton Woods coach Chad Murphy told the crowd. “Justin is a phenomenal kid, first and foremost. Everybody sees these hats out here and all these Power Five schools see all these great highlights and this and that. But it’s incredible what we’ve seen here every day for the last four years, a guy who keeps his head down, stays humble and is one of the hardest working people in the room. And to me as a coach, it just says something incredible about who he is as a person.”

Hill, who was selected to the state Division II first team as a junior, told WCPO 9 Sports this spring how his name, image and likeness (NIL) influenced his recruiting process.

“I just feel like I’ve tried to process it all and become mature enough to understand this stuff,” Hill said this spring. “I understand that going out to people and seeing the kind of people that I’m around is a business. And it’s not something you can be childish about.”

Winton Woods, which posted an 8-4 record in 2023, opens the season on Aug. 23 at Springfield, which finished second in Division I last year.

Hill can sign his National Letter of Intent on December 4.

Murphy said Hill will certainly have a big impact on this year’s Winton Woods team as it moves up to Division I this season.

“The point is, this guy is not only one of the best football players in the United States, he’s one of the best people in the United States,” Murphy said.

TO REGISTER: Subscribe to our high school sports newsletter

More news about high school sports:

Leave a Comment