T.Y. Hilton: Why Historic Day Is Just the Beginning for Colts WR

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 25: T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts returns a punt for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

When the Indianapolis Colts drafted wide receiver T.Y. Hilton in the third round of last year's draft, the thinking was that Hilton would be to Andrew Luck what Marvin Harrison was to Peyton Manning.

So far this season, Hilton has had his ups and downs, but for the most part performed the way you would expect a rookie to perform with 30 catches for 455 yards and four touchdowns heading into Indianapolis' showdown with the Buffalo Bills.

That showdown with the Bills would see Hilton make history, as he would become the first Colt to score a touchdown on a punt return and reception in the same game (via NFL.com).

That Hilton would add a spark to Indianapolis' special teams game shouldn't come as a surprise, as the Colts drafted him with the intention that the speedster out of Florida International University would break out in that phase of the game in much the same was as fellow Floridian Devin Hester did with the Chicago Bears.

But Hilton is about so much more than special teams, and his numbers for the season (plus his college numbers) prove that Sunday afternoon was only the beginning.

Hilton's college career at FIU practically put the program on the map. His 229 receptions for 3,531 yards and 24 touchdowns in four seasons are school records that any receiver will be hard-pressed to break, as well as his exploits in the return game where he gained 2,885 yards on punt and kickoff returns for four touchdowns.

Hilton is also responsible for FIU's first bowl victory in the 2012 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, where he won the MVP award for a game that saw him score on a punt return and on a reception.ย 

Since being drafted by the Colts, Hilton has found that the jump from the Sun Belt Conference to the NFL is a large one, but it is one that he has handled well.

As his play has steadily improved, he has become the much-needed second target for Luck, as seen in the Colts' Week 12 victory over the Bills. Hilton's line as a receiver to go along with his return: three receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Hilton is an explosive player who has continued to prove throughout the season how right Indianapolis was in drafting him in the third round. Now that he's gotten acclimated more to the NFL, Hilton's stock can only go up as he inches his way from being just a return man to being a full-fledged fantasy football star in the coming years.ย 

It will be quite a thrill for Colts fans to see Luck-to-Hilton going deep for the next few seasons.


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