Second-year Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is looking to improve even more upon his impressive 2012 season. As a rookie, Hilton had 50 receptions for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. The speedster helped the Colts not skip a beat after losing Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie due to free agency and an injury.
Most thought Hilton would have made his presence known in the return game. The youngster ran a 4.24 40-yard dash on his Pro Day and wowed Colts scouts with his speed. He did thrive in that part of the game, returning a punt for a touchdown last season and helping return kickoffs.
It was no secret prior that the Colts had zero return game prior to Hilton since arguably 2004. They were always faced with bad field position due to a lack of speed and having no true return guy. On the flip side, they didn’t care much about field position because they had Peyton Manning.
With a rookie quarterback and new system, they knew field position was key and Hilton was the guy to help. He went above in beyond in not only helping the return game, and only hopes to get better this year.
“I want to limit my drops to single digits and just go out there and have fun and punt return, probably get about two or three touchdowns,” said Hilton.
When pointed out that drops are a part of the game, the second-year player said, “it is but once I get after it I kind of stop dropping the ball, fundamentals, catch the ball, look it in. Right now I’m finishing the catch and running after the catch.”
One tool that Hilton knows he can use to get better is Reggie Wayne. The veteran receiver has been like a big brother to Hilton, helping him whenever he can. Hilton basically stalked him to find out how to be a pro and what he has to do for success in this league. That didn’t change this season.
“I am very appreciative of him. Whenever I get a chance I just make sure I tell him thank you just being able to have the time to be able to talk to me, just give me the time. Whenever I have a question to ask him, he always answers so just to be able to have the type of guy means a lot.”
Hilton’s locker is directly beside Wayne’s, and he hopes one day that his skills and dedication learned from Wayne will help him reach 1,000 receptions for his career.
“For me to be next to him it means a lot to me. I just take it in, soak it in and ask him whatever I can. Everybody is trying to get to where he is at … I just feel blessed.”
I have a feeling if Hilton keeps up his hard work and following in Wayne’s footsteps, he’s going to be a future All-Pro and go down as one of the greats.
Eric Smith is the Indianapolis Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru.