Best FIU Golden Panthers Football Player - 2012
From the moment he began his college career as an all-purpose offensive threat for Mario Cristobal's Florida International University Golden Panthers football squad, T.Y. Hilton has taken the ball to the house. The very first time the Miami Springs native touched the ball, in his 2008 debut against Kansas, he returned a punt for a touchdown. He finished his freshman season with 12 touchdowns — scoring by catching, running, and even throwing the ball — ranking third in the nation in all-purpose yards per game and garnering freshman-of-the-year honors from the Sun Belt Conference. In 2009, Hilton showed why Alabama head coach Nick Saban sang his praises when he scored on a 96-yard kickoff return against the Crimson Tide. A year later, during a game against Sun Belt rival Troy, Hilton put up 158 yards on just six carries on his way to setting a school record for most yards rushed in a game. He was a key component in the Golden Panthers' earning their first two bowl appearances in school history, each of which ended in victories. Now Hilton is going to the big show. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts so he can catch passes from overall number one pick Andrew Luck.