The Jacksonville Sharks announced that Joe Hills signed with the team for the remainder of the 2017 season on Thursday.
The man they nicknamed “Superman,” Hills (6’4”, 220 lbs) will kick off his third season with the Jacksonville Sharks and will end his seventh year in arena football in Jacksonville. Prior to returning, Hills spent 2017 playing for the AFL’s Tampa Bay Storm, where he made 95 catches for 999 yards with 27 touchdowns in only nine games.
After the conclusion of the 2016 season, the China Arena Football League drafted Hills in the first round, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered him a workout during the NFL season.
The offers came after a 2016 season that rewrote the record books, as Hills won the rare Triple Crown, leading the Arena Football League in catches (161), yards (2,020), and touchdowns (58). The performance helped propel Jacksonville to an appearance in the American Conference Championship game, where they lost to the Philadelphia Soul. As Hills put it himself:
“It’s great to be back in the tank with the greatest fans in arena football, said Joe Hills. The Sharks have always felt like family and it feels good to be back. Yes! Yes! Yes!”
In 2016, Hills also became the second player in franchise history (joining Tiger Jones) to record 2,000 or more receiving yards in a single season, garnering first team All-Arena honors, the Under Armour’s Offensive Player of the Year and the Cutters Wide Receiver of the Year awards.
As head coach Siaha Burley said,
“The opportunity to get a player the caliber of Joe this late in the season was too good to pass up. It’s always a huge compliment when the best receiver in arena football wants to play for you.”
His biggest moment of 2016 came in a playoff win against the Orlando Predators. Hills broke the franchise record with eight touchdowns in the game, the final one sealing a win with 20 seconds left. He has caught a touchdown in 77 straight regular-season AFL games.
Beginning his time with Jacksonville in 2015, Hills made second team All-Arena honors for the first time after catching 150 passes for 1,597 yards and 42 touchdowns. The Sharks leading receiver that year, he finished fourth in the AFL with 42 touchdown receptions.
Before his first stint with the Sharks, Hills led the Tampa Bay Storm in yards, catches, and touchdowns in 2013. He finished second in catches and yards in 2014, while leading the team again in scores.
Hills had two brief stints in the NFL, signing with the Tennessee Titans in 2011, and he trained with the Carolina Panthers in 2013.
Hills began his arena football career with the Spokane Shock in 2012 before joining the Storm. Re-signing with them in 2013, Hills led the Storm in all categories, being named first team All-Arena.
A Palmetto, Florida native, Superman spent his collegiate career at Tennessee State University, where he was ranked by Rivals.com as the 27th-best athlete in the nation, and was a Top 100 player in Florida by SuperPrep while playing at Palmetto High School.