Sharks' Hills named offensive player of the year
Sharks wide receiver Joe Hills was named the Arena League Offensive Player Of The Year today.
Hills had already notched a spot on the All-Arena First Team and recognition as the Cutters Wide Receiver of the Year after putting together one of the best individual seasons by a receiver in the history of the League.
Emerging as the Sharks’ top offensive threat from the opening game of the campaign, Hills racked up 161 receptions for 2,020 yards and 58 touchdowns during the regular season. In the process, he broke his own single-season franchise record for receptions in a season (150, 2015) and shattered Jomo Wilson’s mark of 44 touchdowns set in 2011. Hills also became only the second receiver in franchise history to cross the 2,000-yard mark in a single season.
Hills led the League in all three major receiving categories by a remarkably wide margin, finishing with 16 more receptions, 353 more receiving yards and 10 more receiving touchdowns than any other player in the AFL this season. To put Hills’ dominance in perspective, during the 2015 season two players tied for the League lead with 44 touchdown receptions and four other players finished within five of that total. Hills also finished seventh in the League in all-purpose yards despite recording only 16 rushing yards and three kick return yards during the entire season.
A model of consistency, Hills caught at least one touchdown pass in every game in which he played, extending his own personal streak to 72 consecutive games with at least one score, 6 short of the league record (Damien Harold 78, Colorado Crush). Hills scored multiple touchdowns in all but one game, racked up three or more scores on 12 separate occasions and crossed the 100-yard mark 11 times.
Hills’ phenomenal performance reached its highest heights during the Sharks’ Week 9 victory over the Orlando Predators. In that game, Hills racked up 15 receptions for 173 yards and eight touchdowns, becoming the first player in franchise history to score more than six touchdowns in a single game and coming just one touchdown shy of tying the all-time single-game AFL record.
Hills continued to torch opposing secondaries during the Sharks’ two-game postseason run. In the playoffs, Hills led the Sharks with 24 catches for 269 yards and seven touchdowns. It should come as no surprise that Hills’ phenomenal performance earned him a spot on the All-Arena First Team.
Hills has become the second player in Jacksonville’s seven-year franchise history to earn the AFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, joining quarterback Aaron Garcia, who won the award in 2011.
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