Carolina Panthers 2012 Draft Prospect: The Next Steve Smith?

I’m very sure that many of you have already had my next prospect in mind as a latter round option for the Panthers, but for the sake of those who haven’t been introduced and anyone who would like to reacquaint themselves with this dynamic player, let me present to you the next Steve Smith.

Believe it or not, at 5’10, 183 lbs, today’s prospect was a two-time first team All-DadeCounty (Miami) basketball player in his Junior and Senior season of high school, which speaks to the level of athleticism he possesses. Of course, his abilities also extended to the football field where he was able to distinguish himself by being named first team All-DadeCounty. As a two-star recruit, he didn’t quite receive a mountain of interest from FBS schools, but was able earn a scholarship offer from West Virginia. However, with a desire to stay close to home, he ultimately decided to commit to a lesser known school in his native state of Florida. After taking a look at his college statistics below, join me after the jump to learn a bit more about today’s prospect.

Receiving and Rushing Stats

Year

Rec

Yards

Avg

TD

Year

Rush

Yards

Avg

TD

2009

57

632

11.1

5

2009

6

49

8.2

0

2010

59

848

14.4

5

2010

30

282

9.4

4

2011

72

1038

14.4

7

2011

19

124

6.5

1

Kick and Punt Return Stats

Year

KR

Yards

Avg

TD

Year

PR

Yards

Avg

TD

2009

22

633

28.8

1

2009

3

36

12

0

2010

29

833

28.7

2

2010

20

126

6.3

0

2011

18

548

30.4

0

2011

8

186

23.3

1

College Accolades

§ 2008 Sun Belt Freshman Player of the Year

§ 2008 All-Sun Belt Conference First Team

§ 2008 FWAA Freshman All-American

§ 2010 All-Sun Belt Conference First Team

§ 2010 Sun Belt Player of the Year

§ 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl MVP

If you haven’t already guessed who this guy is, let me present to you, Eugene T.Y. Hilton, of Florida International University. I’m not going to shy away from expressing my belief that this WR/KR combo prospect reminds me of another wide receiver (former KR) on our team, and he is none other than Steve Smith. Forgive me if you feel like I’m carelessly using hyperbole to boost this player up to a level he has yet to obtain, but if you take a little over six minutes to watch Hilton’s highlight reel below, I’m convinced you’ll come away beating your Reggae drums for this guy as well. Can you guess who regarded T.Y. as “a better offensive player than anybody we played against last week” (Virginia Tech)? That would be Nick Saban, who was right, because Hilton was able to take the first touch of his sophomore season 96 yards to the house the following week against Alabama. I’ll be disappointingly surprised if the Panthers fail to show up with at least part of their scouting contingent at his pro day on Friday. Personally, I’d grab this guy in a heartbeat if he were still available in the 4th round. How about you? Let me know what you think of Hilton in the poll and comment section below.

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