Kasim Hill’s Extreme Focus Is His Magic

“Honestly, it’s about staying focused and locked in."

Kasim Hill
Courtesy URI Athletics
YURVIEW WILL TELECAST URI VS. DELAWARE FOOTBALL THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9th AT 1PM. YURVIEW IS COX CHANNEL 4 IN RI.

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By BRENDAN McGAIR

Kasim Hill has now started seven games at quarterback for the University of Rhode Island, a body of work that dates back to the abbreviated 2021 spring season. He’s walked off the field with a winning taste six times, the latest triumph coming this past Saturday as the Rams prevailed in overtime against Stony Brook.

What’s equally impressive is that Hill has successfully led the Rams on three game-winning drives during his brief time in Kingston. Cutting even deeper, each victory has involved Hill either running or throwing for the decisive touchdown.

With the cards flipped over to reveal all the pertinent facts, it’s time to see what can be done about applying a nickname that speaks to Hill’s coolness under pressure.

 

 

Hill Topper? Kasim the Clutch? As they like to say whenever a project or product is in the developmental stage, it’s a working title.

What remains undeniable is the penchant that Hill has developed for leading URI into the end zone when overtime rolls around.

“Honestly, it’s about staying focused and locked in. I can’t hear the fans or anything like that when the game is going on,” said Hill. “As a team, I think we have the most fun when our backs are against the wall. Everyone turns it up a notch just a little bit more. We’re finding a way to execute. In big moments, I think people tend to do too much, but it’s about making sure we stick to the game-plan and stick to who we are. Things have been working out well for us.”

 

 

Listed as a redshirt junior, Hill transferred to the Rams after two stops at schools that compete at the Power Five level. He started his college career at Maryland and made enough of an impact to be named ACC Rookie of the Year in 2018. He joined Tennessee for the 2019 season but never played a down for the Volunteers before re-entering the NCAA transfer portal.

Looking back on his time with the Terrapins and the knack he’s displayed when it comes to orchestrating overtime magic with the Rams, one might contend that if you play before an announced crowd of 109,531 – the attendance figure when Maryland played at Michigan on Oct. 6, 2018 with Hill at the QB controls for the Terps – you can probably handle any college football-related environment.

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YURVIEW WILL TELECAST URI VS. DELAWARE FOOTBALL THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9th AT 1PM. YURVIEW IS COX CHANNEL 4 IN RI.

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Kasim Hill
Courtesy URI Athletics

“I think it prepared me a lot,” said Hill, reflecting on his time as a Big Ten participant. “I learned a lot about myself and preparation as well as dealing with adversity. When something comes up nowadays, I have more confidence in my ability to figure out solutions.”

For all that Hill had accomplished before coming to Rhode Island, there was still a frontier for him to conquer – the one where the outcome hangs in the balance and, as the quarterback, it’s your job to set the tempo.

On March 13, 2021, Hill went on to stage some OT heroics where a touchdown provided the decisive points in the game. His two-yard run lifted URI to a 40-37 win on the road over sixth-ranked Villanova.

Kasim Hill
Courtesy URI Athletics

“I believe that was the first time for me,” said Hill when asked if he could recall any previous times when he played a substantial hand in orchestrating football’s answer to a walk-off win.

Hill didn’t have to wait long before taking his second bite out of the proverbial game-winning apple. One week after helping URI top Villanova, he ran for another touchdown in overtime as the Rams defeated another nationally ranked opponent. He covered 25 yards in a 17-10 win at Albany.

That brings us to this past Saturday at Meade Stadium. Once again, Hill and the Rams needed overtime to settle the outcome. Just like against Villanova and Albany, he was pivotal in URI’s ability to escape with a win. With a sellout crowd on hand, Hill hit tight end Caleb Warren for a 27-yard touchdown on the first play of OT in a 27-20 victory over Stony Brook.

Courtesy URI Athletics

“I thought there was a lot of comfort since it wasn’t that long ago when we were involved in a similar situation,” said Hill. “There wasn’t any panic. Everyone went out and executed. There’s a lot of trust between the coaches and the players.”

What makes URI’s answer to a game-winning drive artist stand out even more is Hill’s desire to let the entire program bask in the glow of the Rams’ 3-0 record in overtime games dating back to last spring. To him, it matters very little that his name is mentioned first when bringing up the recent string of OT heroics. The sun rises and sets on the team as a collective unit, not the individual.

Still, would it surprise you to learn if someone in the URI marketing department is trying to find a way to properly capture Hill’s claim as a game-winning king? You have to admit … game-winning king has a nice ring to it.