Syracuse Recruit Myles Hilliard Says He Was Unfairly Kicked Out Of Milford

The Fizz speaks to Hilliard, Milford HC Bill Chaplick and Myles’ head coach in HS.

Ten months ago it was considered a huge recruiting victory for Syracuse to have swayed athletic defensive end Myles Hilliard to switch his commitment away from Pitt. Today, he’s been kicked out of Milford and will never play a down for the Orange. He’s back in his hometown of Bedford, Ohio working a job almost everyday, just a few months removed from his high school graduation. No football. No college. Nothing.

Myles played just six weeks at Milford, SU’s feeder football program. He didn’t have the grades to attend SU right away. Right now he’d take another shot at playing with the Falcons again. But the odds are slim of that happening at this point. Head coach Bill Chaplick isn’t likely to give Hilliard another chance. Hilliard spoke with The Fizz and would love any chance to get his career back on track.

“I’m just trying to catch onto a D-II school because that’s the only place I think my grades can take me.”

Yes, this is the same 3-star defensive end that signed his with Syracuse back in February on National Signing Day. The same monstrous 6’6”, 255 lb. pass rusher that attracted offers from Michigan State, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The one Doug Marrone and the SU coaching staff spent countless hours feverishly recruiting at the last second after he de-committed from Pitt just weeks before Signing Day. And it’s been two months since Hilliard was kicked off the football team at Milford.

“[Coach Chaplick] said I was being cancerous to the team, that I didn’t have the right attitude. The situation wasn’t right.”

On Tuesday, the Post-Standard vaguely reported Hilliard was “no longer” with the SU football team nor attending Milford. It merely stated, “Efforts to contact Hilliard, who is listed as living in Greensboro, N.C., on the Milford Academy website, or members of his family were unsuccessful.”  It shed no light on how a highly regarded recruit last winter could have already been pushed away by both Syracuse and Milford.

The Fizz spoke to both Hilliard and a number of people around him. Myles says he left the Milford campus on October 18th. He believes his dismissal was largely unfair. When he arrived at Milford in August, his main goal was to focus on schoolwork. He knew he had to balance football and class work to remain eligible.

“[Chaplick] said I wasn’t giving 100% on the field, and was focusing on school more than football. I thought I was making the right choice by focusing on schoolwork.”

Chaplick would not discuss Hilliard’s situation when reached by phone by The Fizz.

“I’m not talking about Myles Hilliard. He’s not apart of our program.”

Hilliard was carrying a 3.2 GPA during his first few months at Milford. Myles says he expressed to Chaplick before the season that his grades and schoolwork would have to be put first. Unfortunately, Hilliard says, Chaplick expected the opposite, that his work on the gridiron would be paramount. Chaplick did not have much of a response to Myles’ charge.

“I wish him the best whatever he does, that’s all I have to say. There are too many Milford guys at Syracuse doing everything they’re supposed to do, and we’re not going to taint that. We’re going to stick with the guys that are getting it done for the Syracuse Orangemen.”

Chaplick has run a successful unofficial affiliate program for SU. Hilliard says he does not understand Chaplick’s treatment of him. But Former Milford tailback Shane Adams believes the culture under Chaplick can be political.

“This is a ‘favorites’ type of school. If you weren’t a favorite, then you weren’t in it. Which made it hell to be there.”

Adams says he remembers other players on the team having their scholarships revoked two years ago, when he was part of the team. Adams played sparingly in ’10 due to a knee injury. He tells The Fizz he would have had a chance to continue his career at Pitt despite the injury.

“I’m sure [Coach Chaplick] was a permanent factor in me not being able to play for Pitt or other Division 1 schools that I was being recruited by.”

Adams understood where Hilliard’s frustration was coming from.

“Unfortunately, I suffered a knee injury while at Milford, so I knew what it was like when the coaches needed me, and I knew what it was like when they were done with me.”

Hilliard and Adams both have frustration with their time at Milford. But there’s also been success stories from the program. Last season Ashton Broyld played ball there and moved onto a contributing role with the Orange this year.

Hilliard originally enrolled at the prep school because of poor high school grades. His SAT scores were too low for enrollment at SU once transcripts were finalized in June. His entire senior year at Bedford High Myles battled grade troubles. His head coach at Bedford, Sean Williams, knew all about these issues.

“When you have the opportunity like [Myles] had, coming from nothing, and then everybody expects you to do something great, guys run away from that situation. It’s a fear of success. Happens all the time. I’ve seen guys, they want it, and then when it comes to them, they don’t really want it.”

Williams says Myles was never malicious, nor got mixed up with drugs or alcohol. He just simply didn’t do his work.

He had the size, he had the ability, but he didn’t go to class and work hard.”

Williams believes Myles couldn’t handle “being great.” The academic struggles were a turnoff for some colleges that watched the DE play.

“There are great football players all over the place here in Ohio. [Recruiters] can go down the stretch and get another 6’6” 245 lb. kid.”

Despite his high school difficulties, Hilliard says he had a change of attitude when he arrived at Milford.

“The SU coaches thought I was making the right choice. Focusing on the school work [at Milford].”

Myles says he saw the writing on the wall. He played very little throughout the first month and a half of the season, recording just two solo tackles through the season’s first 5 games. He had a breakout game in a loss to Army Prep on October 5th. The Falcons also lost the following week to Delaware. According to Myles, Chaplick didn’t play him after his big game and Hilliard was frustrated.

“The team came off two losses, and he basically blamed the two losses on me because I didn’t put forth the total effort. I didn’t understand.”

It’s hard to imagine a coach blaming a pair of losses on one player, let alone a defensive end. Did Hilliard internalize something that really wasn’t there? Something transpired because Hilliard was kicked off the team and out of the school shortly after that weekend. Myles tells The Fizz he then tried to get in touch with the SU coaching staff but they never got back to him.

“It felt like abandonment there.”

Tuesday The Fizz reached out to SU Athletics for comment on Hilliard’s allegations. The school declined comment. Syracuse says since Hilliard never enrolled at SU, he is just another prospective recruit it can’t talk about. The NCAA prohibits discussion of any recruit until they have enrolled at their eventual college. SU Athletics’ “no comment” occurred approximately ninety minutes before first published its story on Hilliard citing “a source close to the football program.”

When was the last time the Syracuse coaching staff tried to reach out to Myles? Hilliard says he hasn’t heard from them since September. His high school coach, Sean Williams, believes it had boiled over by that point.

“I think [the SU coaching staff] was done at that point. For a coaching staff to have a recruit go through the whole process with you for that long and then walk away, it means something.”

Williams watched Hilliard closely over his last few semesters at Bedford. Not just on the field, but in the classroom as well. He watched him change and Williams believes Myles became a different person.

“I just didn’t see the focus and determination there anymore. It was more about getting the offers and people saying, ‘Oh, wow, look where you’re going. Look what you got.’ Not, ‘What are you going to do when you get there?’”

Williams says Hilliard passed the blame for his mistakes onto others. Is Myles just passing the buck once more, this time to Chaplick? Or was he kicked to the curb and abandoned by the coaches that were supposed to help him because he was not valuable enough on the football field? Hilliard says he has some understanding about why he was pushed away.

“Based off statistics, [Chaplick] wanted more of me. He expected the best, and I couldn’t deliver. I guess I can’t fault him for expecting that.”

Hilliard might end up just a few hours away from the Hill. The University of Buffalo is interested in Hilliard. UB originally offered him back in ’11. The coaches have gotten in touch with Williams for information, old stats and highlight tapes.

“They told me they want him. They don’t care what happened in the past.”

As bleak as his recent past has looked, the future could be bright for Hilliard. This could be the wakeup call he’s needed. Williams believes Myles can make a comeback at Buffalo.

“I really think he can.” 

Hilliard’s profile is still active on the Milford website. His bio pic still features that rugged scowl. But that’s now his past. Still a teenager, Myles may have learned more lessons in six months than most college students do in four years. Hilliard needs to move forward now. Whereever he ends up next will fall on his shoulders and his shoulders alone.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

23 Comments on this Post

  1. There is an upside and a downside to all this political BS at Milford. If the kid had a 3.2 then leave him alone if his football isn’t up to expectations. These kids are student atheletss.

  2. Russell MacEachern

    nice way to put it Lou,some of us fans forget that most important fact!!

  3. Lou, also agree, maybe SU needs to step away from Milford for awhile. Find another prep school that maybe will get the academics in order before even promising the future stardom that comes from playing on a D1 school.

    Just too many cases like Hilliard’s it seems

  4. @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    Where were the parents for guidance here? Who were the people who were telling him that his size alone would get him into college? His high school coach indicated that he was having trouble in the class room and wouldn’t take responsibility for his actions,always blaming others for his mistakes. Myles Hilliard should have known in 7th grade that if he wanted to continue playing football at a Div. I school his school work was essential for that to happen. Kids today need to get a grip on reality,they need to work just as hard in the classroom as they do on the football field.

    There’s always more to the story that’s not being reported. Every year we hear or read about a star player that couldn’t make it at the Div.I level transferring to a Div.II or Div.III school,because of not enough playing time or they just couldn’t handle the pressure associated with playing football at the Div. I level.

  5. Kevin Fitzgerald

    Lou R:
    I agree, especially in Myles’ case. He was there TO work on the grades. For him, he admitted he wasn’t performing to the best of his ability on the football field, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort.

    Unfortunately, it seems SU has moved on if they allegedly never contacted Myles during or after his expulsion. Again. won’t know for sure until he signs and enrolls with a university.

    It is very unfortunate because I’ve talked with Myles many times, and he’s such a bright, genuine, well spoken kid. Sometimes it’s tough to balance every task at hand.

  6. I agree here guys. Sounds like there’s certainly blame on Myles’ part to have kept his head on straight. But football coaches need to be mentors in every walk of life – not just athletics. I hope they truly tried to help Myles every step of the way, on and off the field. I’m also disappointed the PS ran a story like this and basically didn’t bother to get quotes from anyone. Fitz did a lot of good work to talk to people, but if you try hard enough you can tell more of the story. The PS totally did not do that and makes you wonder how many other stories they are short changing us all on.

  7. There is something very off with this story.3.2 grade wise is very OKWhat are they expecting on the field? This kid ill pop up in a lower division and maybe even play on Sunday with some decent coaching. I think this story was sitting around not being told and becoming more creative in its disclosure. “Pants on Fire”?

  8. @jax agreed SU needs to find another prep school. something is going on there. This is the same coach who played Ashton like 10 plays a game. I find it hard to believe that a 6’6″ 250lbs player with lots of D-1 offers couldn’t contribute on the playing field, even while putting his grades first. And to top it off they don’t even have a winning record. something smells fishy there.

  9. @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    Kevin,all I’m saying is that there must be more going on behind the scene with Hilliard than meets the eye. He decommitted from Pittsburgh went to Milford because of poor grades,got kicked out of or left on his own accord,depending on what story one is to believe. Maybe his grades(3.2 avg.)aren’t as good as what’s being reported. It’s plain that we don’t have all of the information about his leaving Milford,which in the short term leads people like members of the Fizz family to speculate as to why he left.

    I know the easy thing for any student to do is to blame the coach in these types of situations. I think that we all need to be careful before going down that road.

    I forgot to add Kevin;you posted another great article for the fans to debate. good job to you and the Fizz. Thanks.

  10. I’m more with Ron on this one. I’ve worked with hundreds of these kids, and it’s impossible to know everything without all the facts. But many of these kids are experts at not handling their business, then playing the victim role while blaming others. It happens all the time, a product of what they usually learned from an underachieving parent throughout their childhood. It’s too often “the system’s fault,” “the teacher’s fault,” the “coach’s fault.” They aren’t taught self-responsibility. The coaches in high school try to mentor them better, but after high-school they’re treated like adults and bs isn’t tolerated. If the coach said he was, “being cancerous to the team,” it probably means he was talking back, slacking off, and undermining the coaches’ authority. Most likely, even if he’s well spoken and polite around some adults, a different side was showing on the practice field. If coaches allow this, they lose all control with the rest of the team. I hope he matures and makes the most of his next chance.

  11. Kevin Fitzgerald

    I wish I had more of a reponse from Coach Chaplick or SU athletics but there was no comment from either. I don’t know what else you are asking for. I’ve talked with Myles many times over since his dismissal in October. He didn’t want to open up about what happened…I and everyone has to respect that. It’s a tough situation for him. But he finally wanted his story out recently. And for good reason; there are many questions about his dismissal…unfortunatly Milford Acadedmy won’t answer those at the moment.

    No, Ron…He didn’t leave Milford it is confirmed he was kicked off the team.
    And Ron, there is ZERO SPECULATION whatsoever. We reported what Hilliard said, Reported that Chaplick and SU athletics had no comment, and supported Hilliard claims with a similar account. There is no speculation at all.

    I certainly agree the atmosphere may be toxic.

    I mean, how bout this…who do you think is at fault most for this scenario? Hilliard? No discipline from family/teachers in HS? Chaplick? SU Coaches and Marrone?

  12. There’s absolutely no proof that the atmosphere is toxic based off two discontented former football players. Thousands of players have gone through the program; you have Hilliard who just left, and another disgruntled ex-player for “support.” That’s a joke. Of course the coaches aren’t dignifying this article with a response. They have nothing to gain by a media debate with a guy who blew it. To say that SU should cut ties with the school over such a shallow, unsubstantiated accusation is pathetic. God help us all if we find ourselves wrongfully accused of a crime, and some of these posters find their ways as jurors.

  13. Just a couple things:

    Who is Shane Adams and why should I care what he has to say? The blog post didn’t even state exactly why Adams was kicked off the team but I should take Adams word that he was screwed? Plus maybe the blogger should have worked just as hard to find a few success stories from the program rather than dropping a quick line about Ashton Broyld…

    There’s some good reporting and it’s tough to make a story when Milford and SU won’t comment but I find it hard to believe he was kicked off the team for little to no reason. Hilliard spoon fed and the Fizz ate a lot of it up

  14. @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    Kevin,I didn’t speculation was given when you were investigating this story. Once in print leads us the readers and or fans of Syracuse Athletics down the road guessing(speculating)as to what happened.

    Your article is probably correct on all points given,it’s just my gut feeling,but as far as I’m concerned there’s a lot of information that is not being reported here. Maybe,just MAYBE Myles Hilliard isn’t being totally truthful here.

    In any case it’s water over the dam anyways. Whatever happens isn’t going to change the course of history.

    I wish him well where ever he ends up playing football,even if it’s in his back yard at home.

  15. @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    I’ve seen first hand,when a student athlete is having trouble with their schoolwork a tutor is provided. I’ve seen it Kevin,so if Myles was having trouble why didn’t he seek help and get a tutor?

  16. Myles decision to leave Milford Academy for what ever reason,forfeit playing at Syracuse for 2 maybe 3 years and giving up the possibility of making millions in the NFL, just blows me away. How could anyone make a decision of that magnitude?

    A little hard work would have given him a chance to succeed in the game of life and he threw it all away.

    I rest my case.

  17. @Carlton;

    I just read the following about FSU. Tommy Tuberville has just hired Eddie Gran to join him at Cincinnati.

    Florida State has now lost three of its top assistants. Former defensive coordinator Mark Stoops is the head coach at Kentucky, and Stoops hired Florida State defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach.

    What’s up with that? Are you concerned that FSU is losing its coaching staff?

  18. @Kevin Fitzgerald;—–No, Ron…He didn’t leave Milford it is confirmed he was kicked off the team.
    And Ron, there is ZERO SPECULATION whatsoever. We reported what Hilliard said, Reported that Chaplick and SU athletics had no comment, and supported Hilliard claims with a similar account. There is no speculation at all.

    Ok Kevin I understand, so maybe the question that should have been asked is,with you carrying a 3.2 grade average out of 4.0,why are you leaving school? Finish your school for the year and apply to Syracuse for the Spring semester. A 3.2 grade average(alone) would have gotten him into any school in the land and if he was working hard on the field,his size and ability along with his academics would have made him eligible for any program in the country.

    The way I look at it only leads to speculation from people like me as to why he left school in the first place.

  19. It’s very interesting that a young man would say that a school or specifically Milford Academy cost him a chance to play D1 ball. According to him, his grades from high school didn’t get him into college, thus going to Milford was his “only shot” of getting to college.
    I looked up this Shane Adams, and it turns out he was hurt most of the season and didn’t play, so his discontent comes from an injury in a 5-6 RB rotation, who didn’t have a scholarship offer at Pitt. It’s easy to debunk a story with speculation and not facts, but SU has used Milford as a feeder and there have been a number of success stories. Although, the story is about Hilliard, there are a number of athletes who have made it SU because they worked hard.

    Ashton Broyld
    Travon Burke
    Myles Davis
    Dyshawn Davis
    Mikail Marinivich
    RJ Perkins

    The list is endless.

    Anyone that has ever shaken hands with Chaplick knows he’s a no nonsense guy. So if you get kicked out, you had to really blow your shot. Check the record after Hilliard was kicked out…all wins maybe he was a cancer because there aren’t any other 6’6 250 DE’s on the roster.

  20. @J.Will;

    Thank you for the informative post. I would also like to add that there are two more players at Milford Academy that Syracuse is looking at.

    2* CB Sterling Parks
    2* 5’9″ 182 lb RB Charles Davis.

    I haven’t seen anything written about either of these two players knocking the doors down at Milford Academy running as fast as then can trying to get away from that horrible program.

  21. Russell MacEachern

    Yeah Ron it seems FSU is losing its top notch recruiters?I see where RU got a commit 4* Skai Moore OLBer 6’3″ 212 out of University school in Ft Lauderdale and also FSU put out feelers to the B1G!Have u heard anything about it ?Maybe Carlton can enlighten us!

  22. Rob oakes

    at Milford all players arent given a chance to play, but all are given oppurtunity in classroom , hard four months ,some of the coaches need a new line of work ,home depot maybe ,Chaplich is a good guy though ,and teachers care every kid isnt part of the feeder system some kids dont have a school waiting for them ,so the audition may not happen . My son wanted to play D1 football he accomplished that ,got his grades at milford got his football on his own.

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