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Packers connections provide foundations for Isaiah McDuffie, Kylin Hill

Green Bay wraps up 2021 draft class with a linebacker and running back

LB Isaiah McDuffie (left) and RB Kylin Hill (right)
LB Isaiah McDuffie (left) and RB Kylin Hill (right)

GREEN BAY – The dust had barely settled on the Packers' second sixth-round pick Saturday and AJ Dillon was already blowing up Isaiah McDuffie's phone with excitement.

It came after the revelation the two former Boston College Eagles would once again be teammates after the Packers picked McDuffie with the No. 220 selection of the NFL Draft.

Dillon, a running back, and McDuffie, a linebacker, were members of the same recruiting class in 2017. Given the nature of their positions, the two frequently locked horns on the practice field and developed a strong friendship along the way.

"Me and AJ, we talk quite a bit," said McDuffie. "After I got drafted, he reached out and just said, 'Congratulations, let me know. Enjoy your day. Let me know when you're in town and we can pick back up where we left off.'"

Seen as a "Swiss Army knife" at the heart of Boston College's defense, the 6-foot-1, 227-pound McDuffie had 233 career tackles, 8½ sacks and an interception in 37 career games.

This past year, McDuffie finished fifth in the country with 107 tackles and reset his single-game career-high with 16 tackles against second-ranked Notre Dame last November.

McDuffie was one of the top recruits out of New York when he committed to Boston College in 2016. A two-way player for his father, Stephenson McDuffie, at Bennett High School in Buffalo, McDuffie had 111 tackles and five forced fumbles on defense and rushed for 1,531 yards and 21 touchdowns on offense during his senior year.

"My dad is my biggest critic and my biggest fan," Isaiah said. "I never got anything easy. He set the tone with me, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't be here without him. It was just a great, great experience him being my high school coach. I wouldn't trade it for the world."

McDuffie, who joins a young inside linebacker room, is also amped to reunite with Dillon who has sung the franchise's praises since he was drafted in the second round one year ago.

"He always told me after he got drafted, the Packers is a great place, a great franchise, historic, very great people from the top down," McDuffie said. "It's a great place to be, so me getting drafted here, honestly, it just feels great."

One round after the Packers drafted McDuffie, Green Bay wrapped up its nine-player draft class with Mississippi State's Kylin Hill in the seventh round (No. 256 overall).

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound running back started 25 of the 27 games he played at Mississippi State, fumbling just once on 481 collegiate carries.

Hill was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection after rushing for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019. Hill played in three games last year before choosing to opt out to prepare for the NFL Draft.

As the roster currently stands, Hill will compete with Patrick Taylor, Dexter Williams and Mike Weber for the No. 3 job behind Pro Bowler Aaron Jones and Dillon.

"I got a real chip on my shoulder right now," Hill said. "I'm ready to go and I'm ready to show everybody what I can do, what I know I can do. I'm really excited for the situation. I'm ready to show Packers fans what I can do and produce on the field."

Like McDuffie, Hill has connections to the Packers' roster. He ran behind the blocking of Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins in 2017-18, while current Green Bay quarterbacks coach/pass-game coordinator Luke Getsy served as Mississippi State's offensive coordinator for one season.

Following Hill's decision to opt out, Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst said Getsy was one of the individuals behind the scenes who helped shine some light on Hill as a prospect.

"Coach Getsy is my guy," Hill said. "We've got a real good relationship, bigger than just football.

"He taught me a lot of pointers in college, so that's my guy. I'm pretty sure he had a hand in me getting picked, for sure."

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