Justin Hilliard signed as a rookie free agent with the San Francisco 49ers following the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ohio State Overview
• 2020 team captain
• Graduated with his degree in marketing
• Earned his master’s degree this past year in consumer sciences
• One of the great character people and leaders on the team
• Overcame numerous injuries to play in 50 games and start seven times
• Recorded 84 career tackles and 9.0 TFLs
• Also had two interceptions, three pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries
• Travelled to Costa Rica in 2018 on a community service initiative and also interned with the WWE
• Hilliard had an Achilles injury cut his spring practice short in 2019 but he recovered in time to played in 12 games and even started three games (twice vs. Wisconsin and also at Michigan).
• Totaled 13 tackles, three tackles for loss and his first career interception, which came in the fourth quarter of a 28-17 Big Ten East Division-clinching win over Penn State.
• Hilliard was remarkably consistent in 2019, making at least one tackle in 12 of 14 games.
• The 2018 campaign saw him play in 13 of 14 games for the Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions while making 20 tackles – 14 solo – and forcing two pass breakups.
• In addition to his linebacker play, Hilliard is also a valued and productive member of Ohio State’s special team’s unit.
• Tied for the team lead with six special team’s tackles in 2018, three of which were inside the 20 yard line.
• Earned his first Varsity O letter in 2017 by playing in all 14 games for the Buckeyes and contributed 14 tackles on the season.
• This after he missed much of two seasons with separate biceps injuries with the second coming during the 2016 season after Hilliard had played in each of the team’s first three games.
• He made four tackles in the first game he played in as a Buckeye, vs. Bowling Green.
Honors & Awards
• Ohio State’s 2019 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree
• Graduated in May of 2019 with his degree in marketing and is 2020 with a master’s degree in consumer sciences.
• A two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
More on Justin
• Hilliard was a 5-star recruit by both 247Sports and ESPN and one of the top linebacker prospects in his recruiting class.
• Rated as the No. 1 outside linebacker by ESPN and No. 2 by 247Sports, and the No. 1 inside linebacker by Rivals.
• Also held lofty overall rankings of No. 17 on the ESPN 300, No. 30 by 247Sports and No. 45 on the Rivals 250.
• PrepSports ranked him No. 32 nationally and a member of its 150 Dream Team.
• Hilliard was a finalist as a senior for the Dick Butkus Award and he was an Associated Press all-state selection and its Division I defensive player of the year.
• Helped lead coach Steve Specht’s St. Xavier team to a 10-3 record in 2014 and a state semifinals appearance after recording 71 tackles and five quarterback sacks.
• Had 76 tackles, four sacks and seven passes defensed in 2013.
• Named a U.S. Army All-American but did not play as he was recovering from a knee injury.
• Is the son of Diane and Carl Hilliard.
• Older brother, C.J., was a running back for Ohio University.