Dania Beach, Florida. Michigan Security Dax Hill, whose game status for the Orange Bowl was described as “questionable” early Thursday morning, arrived in south Florida on the eve of the Wolverines’ national semi-final game against Georgia.
A source with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Detroit News that Hill arrived from Ann Arbor on Thursday afternoon and joined the team.
Michigan’s trainer Jim Harbaugh said Thursday morning during the final press conference before the Orange Bowl semi-finals on Friday night that Hill, who had not traveled with the team on December 25, had “worked through a bit”.
Later that day during an interview with ESPN, Harbaugh said Hill was “not excluded” and cited his potential to play a “season decision”. Hill was part of Michigan’s schedule installation before the team left for Florida.
At the time of the video press conference Thursday morning with the two head coaches, Harbaugh said Hill was “not currently in Florida”. He also said he would know “if he can play” more as the day wears on.
The Wolverines (12-1) prepare to face the Bulldogs (12-1) on Friday, with the winner moving into the national championship game.
If Hill were not available it would be a significant loss to the Wolverines. The junior, who was voted the first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches this season, has played in 32 games and started 22. had a fumble recovery, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions.
Freshman Rod Moore, who showed up late in the season and made his first college start at Penn State on Nov. 13, would likely take the lead if Hill is unavailable. The 6-foot, 173-pound Moore has played 10 games and has 31 tackles and one pass breakup.
“I feel great about the depth of safety,” said Brad Hawkins, senior safety on Wednesday. “Rod Moore is a great player. As a young man he is a leader, he listens, he wants to learn, he wants to get better every day. He’s working his butt off. For a young man who is thrown into the fire like this and keeps growing and continues to play well, it’s great for him. He will continue to grow as a person and leader in this team. I’m just very happy for him and can hardly wait for his success in the future. “