On Monday, the Tampa Bay Storm announced they acquired wide receiver Joe Hills. One of the most dominant receivers in recent memory, Hills returns to Tampa Bay after spending the last two seasons with the Jacksonville Sharks, who have since moved to the National Arena League.
Hills (6’4″, 220 lbs) has had a storied six-year career in the Arena Football League. In 2016 alone, Hills led the league in catches (116), yards (2,020), and touchdowns (58), landing him Receiver of the Year, Under Armour Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Arena honors. Scoring wise, his 348 points were nearly half (41.7%) of the Sharks’ total on the season.
On coming back, Hills felt that it was not only the best move, but it was the right move.
“Tampa is home. This is where my family is and I couldn’t be happier to be closer to them. I’ve been away for a few years and now is the time to come back and put on the blue and gold. Tampa has the greatest fans in the world and I can’t wait to get back out on the field for them.”
Storm Vice President of Football Operations, Jeff Gooch, had a similar sentiment, excited to see Hills as a much-needed boost to the team.
“Joe finished last season as the League’s number one receiver,” said Storm vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch. “Any time you have the opportunity to acquire a player of his caliber, you have to jump at the chance. We are proud to have him back in the blue and gold.”
The Palmetto, FL, native attended Palmetto High School before playing his college ball at Tennessee State University. After spending 2011 with the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League, Hills came to the AFL with the Spokane Shock in 2012. Ater just three games, Hills joined the Storm and played two full seasons in his first stint.
During that short time, he broke several records, and remains in the top 10 in franchise history in receptions (272), receiving yards (3,761), yards per catch (14.6) and touchdown catches (93).
Hills now goes into the 2017 season with an opportunity to catch and pass Damian Harrell for most consecutive games with a touchdown reception. Harrell’s record stands at 78, and Hills’ current streak sits at 72, every game of a career that’s seen a total of 597 catches for 7,512 yards and 194 scores.