Ike Hilliard Biography
Along with Reidel Anthony, Ike Hilliard was one of the most feared wide receivers in Steve Spurrier’s “Fun and Gun” offense in the 90’s. The offense was so revolutionary, it changed the SEC from a traditionally running conference to a speed conference that spread out defenses and utilized every weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Players like Hilliard were now being recruited to the SEC.
Playing for the Gators from 1994-96, Hilliard was a first-team All-SEC in 1996, and a consensus first-team All-American for the first ever national championship team from Florida. The highlight of the year was a rematch with the only team to beat them during the year, Florida State, for the national championship in the 1997 Sugar Bowl. In the game, Hilliard caught three touchdown passes in the Gators' 52-20 victory.
In what has become legend, Hilliard’s The Stop and Pop move would break open the national championship game as he split two Seminoles defenders as he landed from a high-flying catch.
He finished his three-year career seventh in school history in receptions (126), fourth in receiving yards (2,214) and tied for second in touchdowns (29).
The Louisiana product was voted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of the 11th Anniversary class, joining Rodney Hampton and Willie McClendon from the University of Georgia. Hilliard’s memorable game against Georgia came in 1995, when he hauled in five passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, as the Gators routed the Bulldogs 52-17.
He was selected as a 2009 Gator Great. Gators Greats are letter winners or athletes who have brought recognition and prominence to the University and to themselves through athletic accomplishments as an undergraduate.
The New York Giants selected Hilliard in the first round with the seventh pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. He spent his first eight seasons with the Giants as a starter, helping the team reach Super Bowl XXXV, where they would lose to the Baltimore Ravens. He finished his career in New York with 368 receptions for 4,630 yards and twenty-seven touchdowns.
He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2004 season and had his best season in 2007 with sixty-two receptions for 722 yards.
He finished his NFL career with 546 catches for 6,397 yards and thirty-five touchdowns.
After retiring from the NFL due to a neck injury, Hilliard became a volunteer receivers coach for the UFL's Florida Tuskers in 2009. Then, in May of 2010, it was announced that Hilliard will become the Tuskers' new wide receivers coach for the coming season.
And from the, “Did you know” category, Hilliard is the nephew of former New Orleans Saints running back Dalton Hilliard.
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