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Ole Miss’ Mike Hilton named Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist

Ole Miss’ Mike Hilton named Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist

Ole Miss’ Mike Hilton has been named one of sixteen semifinalists for the prestigious Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s best defensive back.

Mike Hilton

Mike Hilton (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Hilton is this year’s Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner for the Rebels, entitling him to wear the No. 38 jersey. The Fayetteville, Georgia native is hands down the most versatile player on the Ole Miss defense—having started at every single position in the defensive backfield during his career.

Hilton’s ability to play multiple positions makes him especially qualified for the Thorpe Award.

Jim Thorpe is still considered one of the greatest athletes in history. He played numerous positions on the gridiron, including running back, kicker, and defensive back. He played pro baseball, won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics in the decathlon and pentathlon, and was named president of the National Football League in 1920.

This season Hilton was slated to play at the rover position; however, when Tony Conner went down with an injury, Hilton moved over to play husky. In typical Hilton fashion, he explained he just wants to help his team however he can. “It’s just another thing for me,” Hilton said. “You guys (the media) know I am going to do whatever I have to do for the team. It’s just another calling and another thing to help my team win.”

Only 16 players nationwide, four from the SEC, have been chosen as semifinalists for the Thorpe Award. One can tell by the National Football League Hall of Fame website’s tribute to Thorpe just what an amazing player he was:

He could run with speed as well as bruising power. He could pass and catch passes with the best, punt long distances and kick field goals either by dropkick or placekick. Often he would demonstrate his kicking prowess during halftimes by placekicking field goals from the 50-yard line, then turning and dropkicking through the opposite goal post. He blocked with authority and, on defense, was a bone-jarring tackler.

NFL Hall of Fame Tribute to Jim Thorpe

Thus far this season, Hilton is third on the team in total tackles with 38, 26 of which have been solo. He has 8 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 7 passes broken up.

The complete list of Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalists

Mackensie Alexander, Clemson, So.
Vonn Bell, Ohio State, Jr.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, Sr.
Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida, Jr.
Mike Hilton, Mississippi, Sr.
Eddie Jackson, Alabama, Jr.
Desmond King, Iowa, Jr.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, Jr.
Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois, So.
Adrian McDonald, Houston, Sr.
Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma St., Sr.
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State, Jr.
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, Jr.
Jordan Simone, Arizona St., Sr.
Darian Thompson, Boise State, Sr.
Tre’Davious White, LSU, Jr.

Three finalists will be announced November 23, 2015 and the winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 10th airing on ESPN. The winner of the 2015 Thorpe Award will be honored at a banquet in Oklahoma City on February 2, 2016.

Congratulations to Mike Hilton on this great honor!

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

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