By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17
T.Y. Hilton can add another distinction to his already distinguished career in the NFL: receiving champion.
The former FIU football star and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver finished the regular season with a career-high 1,448 receiving yards, edging out Atlanta’s Julio Jones and several others to earn the 2016 NFL receiving title.
Entering the final week of the season, Hilton – nicknamed “The Ghost” by his coach and teammates – had a 30-yard lead over New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with three others also within 100 yards of the lead.
In the regular season finale on Jan. 1, Hilton caught six passes for 96 yards in the Colts’ 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With Jones and Beckham Jr. playing games later in the afternoon, it was not immediately clear if Hilton would finish the day with the title. But he put himself in prime position to clinch it.
“If I lead the league, I lead it,” Hilton told Colts.com after the game. “I’ll be happy. Just to be at the top of those great receivers would be a milestone. I’m just happy we got the win.”
By Sunday night, it was clear that Hilton’s performance would be enough to earn the title. He also finished his fifth season in the NFL with a career high in receptions (91) and six touchdowns.
He will represent the Colts, who fell short of making the playoffs, at the 2017 Pro Bowl on Jan. 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Hilton played at FIU from 2008 to 2011, setting career records in career receptions (229), receiving yards (3,531) and receiving touchdowns (24) while helping the Panthers win their first bowl game in 2010.