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T.Y. Hilton already among the NFL’s elite

Posted Nov 7, 2013

Intro: He’s 23 games into his NFL career and T.Y. Hilton is already among the game’s most dynamic playmakers. Hilton was the 13th receiver chosen in the 2012 NFL Draft but has quickly risen to the top of the league’s receiver group.



INDIANAPOLIS – The first time Andrew Luck recalls watching T.Y. Hilton, the then Stanford quarterback was in a North Carolina hotel room a week into his senior season.

Luck was watching Louisville and Florida International play on a Friday night with his eyes fixating on a smallish No. 4 white jersey.

The blur was Hilton and he was in the process of breaking his own school record with 201 receiving yards in a 21-17 upset over Louisville.

“It seemed like every time (Hilton) touched the ball he took it to the house,” Luck said recalling his memory.

“I was thinking, ‘Who is this little guy, jitterbug out there?’

On that night, Hilton had scoring receptions of 74 and 83 yards and that electric ability has translated to the next level.

Most 100-yard receiving games since 2012  

Player

Games

Calvin Johnson

15

Brandon Marshall

10

 A.J. Green

9

Andre Johnson

9

T.Y. Hilton

8

Dez Bryant

8

Victor Cruz

8

Vincent Jackson

8

Hilton entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder after 12 receivers were taken before the Colts chose the FIU product with the 92nd overall pick in 2012.

When the Colts selected Hilton, general manager Ryan Grigson traded up to grab a kid that “took it to the house against major competition.”

Grigson pointed to Hilton’s 5’9”, 178-pound frame as to why he fell into the later parts of the third round but when he saw Hilton’s name still on the board he couldn’t resist the urge to make a move.

The dynamic ability has outweighed whatever Hilton may lack in stature and he’s proving that just 23 games into his NFL career.

Hilton has 84 catches for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns in his NFL career.

The 12 receivers taken before Hilton last April have averaged 48.6 receptions, 629.3 receiving yards and 3.4 touchdowns.

It all goes back to what Grigson said about Hilton the day he drafted the Colts receiver.

“(Hilton’s) stepped up no matter where he has been,” Grigson said in April of 2012. “We had him in here, and he is a really good kid, hard-working and he’s been productive. We’re expecting big things out of him, and he knows that.”

Most touchdowns of at least 50 yards since 2012

Player

Games

Adrian Peterson

6

T.Y. Hilton

5

A.J. Green

5

Dez Bryant

4

Victor Cruz

4

Trindon Holiday

4

Chris Johnson

4

With Reggie Wayne’s season ending injury, Hilton has been forced to take another step as the lead target for Luck.

On Sunday night, with the Colts trailing by 18 points, Hilton hauled in six passes for 115 yards and a career-high three touchdowns all in the second half.

Hilton admitted that he was a bit nervous when he first met Luck but once the first “bomb” fell into the receiver’s hands, he knew it was a match that Colts fans would be watching for a long, long time.

“(Hilton’s) explosiveness, his dynamic ability is pretty evident from the start when you are out there on the practice field with him, so he’s special,” Luck says.

During the 2013 training camp, a day would not go by without Hilton making a highlight reel catch on one of his teammates.

Cornerback Vontae Davis is thrilled not to have to cover Hilton on Sunday’s and could not be happier to have him on his own sideline.

“I’m not used to seeing a little receiver play so big. T.Y. has a lot of heart,” Davis says.

“If you are not aware of how good T.Y. really is, he can do some great things. He’s a special player with all the rare ability in the world and it’s just up to him to how good he wants to be.”

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