CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When it comes to Nicholas County's Austin Hill, European football's loss was American football's gain.
Hill, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound senior, played soccer during his early years and didn't don football pads until his final year in grade school.
"I used to play soccer until the fifth grade," Hill said. "In the fifth grade my size was outgrowing the sport, so I put the pads on and went from there."
Now a dominant defensive and offensive lineman, there's no doubt that Hill made a wise decision.
Hill earned second team Class AA All-State honors as a defensive lineman in 2012 and is a Daily Mail Preseason All-State defensive lineman. He spent much of the summer attending camps around the country.
Hill, who holds a 3.7 grade-point average, attended a National Underclassmen combine in Pennsylvania, where he did well enough to earn an invitation to the Ultimate 100 camp in Delaware. From there he participated in an Elite Prospect camp in Norman, Okla.
"He has been working extremely hard during the offseason," Nicholas County Coach Gene Morris said. "He's quite a leader for our football team.
"He's our center and he anchors our offensive line and he's our nose guard and he anchors our defensive line."
Hill also gets to return to his soccer roots while serving as the Grizzlies' placekicker and punter.