Last year the 0-8 FAU Owls took on the 6-3 FIU Panthers on November 12th 2011 in the annual Shula Bowl The annual rivalry game between the 2 aforementioned schools. Two solid schools in the South Florida area not known for their football programs. The game was a straight blowout with the Panthers of FIU putting a Beat down on FAU 41-7. We didn't know it back then but in that game we saw 2 of what would become the best rookies at they're positions in 2012 Alfred Morris and T.Y Hilton. Foreshadowing of what would take place in they're NFL rookie seasons happened in that game. Alfred Morris rushed for 110 on 21 Carries and broke the FAU record for rushing yards previously held by Charles Perry. T.Y Hilton electrified the Panther faithful with a 97 yard punt return TD. Needless to say these guys came out of nowhere and became key contributors for 2 playoff teams.
In the 3rd Round of last year's NFL draft the Indianapolis Colts took a gamble. They traded up in the 3rd round with the 49ers for the 93rd pick,that Gamble came in the form of FIU Panther standout wide Receiver T.Y Hilton to go along with 1st round draft pick and franchise QB Andrew Luck of Stanford. The Gamble paid off Hilton stepped in for the injured Austin Collie and took full advantage of his opportunity. He went on to collect 50 receptions along with 861 yards and 7 Touchdowns. He emerged as a solid number two receiver behind Reggie Wayne and set several records along the way. He was the 1st Colts player in History to score both a receiving and punt Return Touchdown in the same game when he did it against the Buffalo Billis on November 25th. He also set a new Colts Rookie record for 100 yard receiving games with 4. At the end of the season Hilton ranks 2nd in receiving yards behind only Justin Blackmon (865 yards) and 1st in Punt return yards with 300,Not bad for a third round gamble.
In the 6th round the Washington Redskins drafted Alfred Morris from little known FAU in Boca Raton, Florida to go play with RG3 in our nation's capital. He came into training camp with Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster all projected to start in front of him. He beat the odds won the job over three other backs and was named the opening day Starter. He would also make History by breaking the Redskins single season rushing record set by Clinton Portis (1,516 yards) with 1,613 yards of his own along with 13 touchdowns. Isn't that crazy? An FAU Owl broke a Miami Hurricanes Record for rushing. The only guy who had more yards then Morris was Adrian Peterson who fell 9 yards short pf having the greatest season in the history of mankind. He may be only five feet 9 inches tall but Alfred Morris is a big time back.
The Colts went 11-5 and won a wild card spot after going 2-14 last year. The Redskins won The NFC east for the 1st time in over a decade. It's crazy to think that at this time last year nobody knew about Hilton or Morris and now this Saturday they will be playing in the NFL playoffs. It's crazy how a year changes things. So next time you are watching the NFL draft and you don't feel like watching the 3rd or 6th round then I say “Shame on you” because you never know the Next T.Y Hilton or Alfred Morris could be in that round.