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Why Rod Marinelli Signs Off On Trysten Hill


FRISCO, Texas – At some point in the coming months, second-round draft pick Trysten Hill will sign his rookie contract.

There's another document Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli asks his new linemen to endorse right away.

"Get that thing signed and get ready to go," he told Hill on the phone from the war room inside The Star.

The unofficial "contract" Marinell referred to on the phone call? It's a pledge, really – a vow to prepare and play hard. Every practice, every game.

"I do this with every guy, from a free agent to a draft pick," he said. "It's my own copy of it, front and back. It talks about how we play and what I ask of you in practice, game day, all of it. I'm very clear with it. I say, 'If it doesn't fit you, tell me now, because you will not be happy here.'"

Marinelli believes Hill fits his scheme, both as a talent and a competitor.

The three technique, or under tackle, is vital to his defense as an athletic, penetrating rusher from the middle of the line. The 308-pound Hill was highly productive at UCF, and while he didn't start in his final season under a new coaching staff, he still posted career highs in tackles (36) and sacks (3). The Cowboys spoke with his old and new college coaches to get a better feel for the 21-year-old.

"We felt very comfortable with where we're at with him," Marinelli said.

And Hill says he bonded with the 69-year-old coach at his pro day and on his official pre-draft visit to The Star. He said he called Marinelli just last week to check in.

"I can't really put into words his and my relationship is with each other. He wants the best out of me and I want to give him everything I've got. Him really taking hold of me this whole process and me being able to call him and chat with him and just hear his voice was huge in this whole deal."

Above pure ability, Marinelli has to know a prospect loves football. Watching film of Hill, he noticed an "unbelievable" work ethic.

"He really fits it – the motor, high energy," he said. "Good athlete, and he's a bigger man. You don't see that type of guy. Inside, those under tackles have always been 300-pound guys, 295. This guy runs and has good movement.

"We're unique that way, how hard we practice and play. And I usually see that on film early with guys. He really plays hard. You watch his tape, I mean, he really hustles. That's the passion you want with these guys."

Hill can't wait to get started, too.

"I think I'm a dominant, tenacious player that wants every bit of the competition," he said. "That's how I was raised and that's what I'm going to do day in and day out. I'm excited to get to work because I know that's what Marinelli preaches."