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The receivers: FIU’s T.Y. Hilton was a silent star before the Colts

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The colleges of Florida have had players in the spotlight.

Over the years, the state has watched Tim Tebow and Jameis Winston, Danny Wuerffel and Charlie Ward, Vinny Testaverde and Emmitt Smith, Percy Harvin and Deion Sanders and others.

But sometimes, stardom comes on a smaller stage, too.

Take, for instance, FIU and T.Y. Hilton. While few were noticing, Hilton caught 209 passes for more than 3,500 yards. All that were missing were the bright lights.

As a pro with Indianapolis, Hilton has caught 283 passes for 4,413 yards.

Here are the top five receivers from the non-marquee college programs of the state.

5. Lester Jean, FAU (2007-2009): Jean stuck around the NFL for years after catching 146 passes for 1,992 yards for the Owls.

4. Mike Norsant, UCF (1995-1998): Norsant caught a whopping 198 passes for 2,809 yards for UCF.

3. Andre Davis, USF (2011-2014): Davis, still trying to stick with the Tampa Bay Bucs, caught 153 passes in college. He gained 2,136 yards.

2. Bernard Ford, UCF (1985-1987): Before he stuck around the NFL for years, Ford caught 111 passes for 2,138 yards.

1. T.Y. Hilton, FIU (2008-2011): Hilton’s impact was one of the best-kept secrets in the state. He caught 229 passes for 3,521 yards.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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