Hakim Hill returns to scene of troubled past

Updated: September 15, 2003, 7:52 PM ET

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hakim Hill is about to return to the scene of his greatest accomplishments -- and his worst troubles.

For Hill, that means he's going back home.

Hill is a running back on the 16th-ranked Arizona State football team that will play at No. 18 Iowa on Saturday. He starred at Iowa City High and spent many pleasant afternoons at Kinnick Stadium watching his brother, Kahlil, play wide receiver for Iowa.

He also had some difficult times, including a sexual assault charge and an arrest for drunken driving. Even so, Hill said he still looks forward to the trip.

"I have no hard feelings toward Iowa City," Hill said Monday from Tempe, Ariz. "It will always feel like home to me."

Hill, a 6-foot, 210-pound sophomore, is Arizona State's third-leading rusher with 57 yards in 12 carries and plays on special teams. He tried to dismiss this as just another week of practice and called it "just another game on the schedule."

But he also acknowledged it was more than that.

"It's going home and seeing my friends on the other side of the ball," Hill said. "It's definitely going to be exciting."

Hill was a teammate at City High with Iowa wide receiver Calvin Davis and center Brian Ferentz. He said Davis, who also plays on special teams, is probably his best friend.

So wouldn't that be strange to have to block or tackle him on Saturday?

"Nah," Hill replied. "I'll just help him up."

Hill ended up at Arizona State after a sensational high school career. In football, he rushed for 3,585 yards and scored 57 touchdowns. He had 28 touchdowns as a senior in 2000 in helping City High reach the semifinals of the playoffs.

In track, Hill won four events at the 2000 state meet and helped City High win team championships in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Away from competition, however, Hill found trouble.

In August of 2000, he was one of seven City High athletes who pleaded guilty to using stolen paintball guns to shoot at joggers. The following year, he was sentenced to two days in jail and fined $1,000 for drunken driving.

Two months later, Hill was charged with third-degree sexual assault after being accused of locking himself in a City High classroom with a 15-year-old girl and forcing her to have sex. He escaped jail time by entering an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him at trial.

Hill said all of that was behind him now.

"I'm looking toward my future," he said. "That's the only thing I'm concentrating on right now. Everything in the past is over and done and taken care of. My future is undetermined."

Hill did not answer directly when asked if he needed to get out of Iowa City. Iowa's coaches recruited him but never offered a scholarship. Hill was suspended his first year at Arizona State, in 2001, but played in all 14 games last season.

"It definitely opened up an opportunity for me to come to Arizona State," he said. "I appreciate everything this football family has done for me. It's just like going anywhere else. You're going away from home."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index