Who Is Harlon Hill?
    
As a senior at Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) in 1953, Hill caught only 12 passes for a ground-oriented, single-wing attack.  Hill received small college All-America acclaim as an end, and was later drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 15th round of the National Football League Draft.  The Bears felt they could afford to wait until the late rounds to draft Hill because even though they knew very little about him, the other NFL teams knew even less.

As a rookie for the Chicago Bears, Hill caught 45 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the club in all three categories.  His performance helped take the Bears from a 3-8-1 record in 1953 to a 8-4 mark in 1954.   On October 31, in San Francisco, Hill caught seven passes from quarterback George Blanda for 214 yards and four touchdowns, in a 31-27 win over the 49er's.  Hill's fourth TD catch of the day was a game-winning 66 yarder with only 33 seconds left in the game.  The four TD's in a game still stands as a Bear's club record.  At the conclusion of the season, Hill was selected as All-Pro, played in the Pro Bowl in Los Angeles for the West squad that won 26-19.  Hill was chosen as the National Football League Rookie of the Year.

In his second NFL season, Hill again led the Bears with 42 catches for 789 yards and nine touchdowns.  He became the first winner of the Jim Thorpe Trophy--symbolic of the National Football Leagues Most Valuable Player.  He also was captain for the West squad in the Pro Bowl, and again named All-Pro.
    
In 1956, Hill had 47 catches for 1,128 yards and 11 touchdowns.   He helped Chicago to a 9-2-1 record, and a spot in the Championship Game against the New York Giants--where they were defeated 47-7.  Hill was selected All-Pro for the third straight year, and made his third appearance in the Pro Bowl.
    
In 1958, a severe ankle injury blunted the speed which made Hill the NFL's most feared deep receiver.  He eventually shifted from wide receiver to defensive back.
    
Harlon Hill still holds numerous receiving records for the Chicago Bears.


He passed away on March 21, 2013 at the age of 80.
 

Harlon Hill's College Totals

Year Team Games Catches Yards Average TD's Points

1950

Florence State College

9

2

23

11.5

2

12

1951

Florence State College

9

22 372 16.9 6 36
1952 Florence State College 9 18 379 21.0 7 42
1953 Florence State College 8 12

246

20.5 4 24
  College Totals 35 54 1,020 18.8 35 114

Harlon Hill's NFL Totals

Year Team Games Catches Yards Average TD's Points
1954 Chicago Bears 12 45 1,124 25.0 12 72
1955 Chicago Bears 12 42 789 18.8 9 54
1956 Chicago Bears 12 47 1,128 24.0 11 66
1957 Chicago Bears 8 21 483 23.0 2 12
1958 Chicago Bears 8 27 365 13.5 3 18
1959 Chicago Bears 11 36 578 16.1 3 18
1960 Chicago Bears 12 5 98 19.6 0 0
1961 Chicago Bears 14 3 51 17.0 0 0
1962 Pittsburgh Steelers 7 7 101 14.4 0 0
1962 Detroit Lions 7 7 0 0.00 0 0
  NFL Totals 103 233 4,717 20.2 40 240

 

HARLON HILL BIO

 

Harlon Junious Hill
* Born: May 4, 1932 in Killen, AL
* Died: March 21, 2013 (Age 80) 

* Graduate of Lauderdale County High School in 1949
* Graduate of the University of North Alabama (then Florence State Teachers College) with a 
B.S. Degree in Education in 1955 
* Earned a Masters Degree in Education from the University of North Alabama (1969)
* Drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 15th round (174th overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft.
* Played nine seasons in the National Football League (1954-62) with the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions. 
* Following his professional football career he became a public school teacher and coach at Brooks High School in Killen, Ala., eventually becoming the principal.
* Served as an Assistant Football Coach with the University of North Alabama football team, 1967-68
* In 1986 he became the namesake for the Harlon Hill Trophy, presented annually to the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year


Awards
National Football League Rookie of the Year in 1954
National Football League Jim Thorpe Trophy recipient as MVP in 1955 
Pro Bowl participant in 1954, 1955 and 1956
All-Pro selection in 1954, 1955 and 1956
Captain of the West Squad in the 1956 Pro Bowl
Member of the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame (1958)
Member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (1976)
Member of the University of North Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame (1990)
Member of the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame (2000)
Member of the 50th Anniversary University of North Alabama Football Team (1949-99)
Member of the Chicago Bears Ring of Honor by Bears History.com
Member of Chicago Bears All-time Team (1920-Present) by 20Yardline.com
Named to Chicago Bears All-Time Starting Lineup by Bleacher Report
Named to 50 Greatest Bears by ESPN


Harlon Hill on All-Pro Teams in the National Football League
Year Team Level Voters
1954 2nd Team All-NFL Associated Press
1954 1st Team All-NFL NY Daily News
1954 1st Team All-NFL Sporting News
1954 1st Team All-NFL UPI
1955 1st Team All-NFL Associated Press
1955 1st Team All-NFL Newspaper Ent. Assoc.
1955 1st Team All-NFL NY Daily News
1955 1st Team All-NFL Sporting News
1955 1st Team All-NFL UPI
1956 1st Team All-NFL Associated Press
1956 1st Team All-NFL Newspaper Ent. Assoc.
1956 1st Team All-NFL NY Daily News
1956 1st Team All-NFL Sporting News
1956 1st Team All-NFL UPI



Chicago Bears Record Books . . .
* His 4,616 receiving yards is second best in Bears history
* His 40 career TD receptions is second best in Bears history
* His 19 career 100-yard receiving games still the most by any Bears receiver
* 4 receiving TDs in a game vs. San Francisco 49ers on October 31, 1954 is still tied for Bears record (with Mike Dikta).
* 214 receiving yards in a game vs. San Francisco 49ers on October 31, 1954 is still Bears record 
* Still holds Bears records for most receiving yards by a rookie (1,124) and most TD receptions by a rookie (12). 


HARLON HILL TIMELINE
1946-49
Lauderdale County High School


1950-53
Florence State Teachers College
(now University of North Alabama)
1950-53 - Four-year letterman at end
1952-53 - Team Captain 
1953 - NAIA All-American
1955 - Received his B.S. degree in Education
 
1954-61
Chicago Bears
1954 - National Football League Rookie of the Year
1955 - Winner of the first Jim Thorpe Trophy as
National Football League Most Valuable Player
1954, 55, 56 - All-Pro
1955, 56, 57 - Pro Bowl
1956 - Captian of West squad in Pro Bowl


1958
Selected to Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame


1962
Pittsburgh Steelers


1962
Detroit Lions


1969
Received his Master’s degree in Education from 
University of North Alabama


1976
Selected to Alabama Sports Hall of Fame


1986
Creation of the Harlon Hill Trophy


1990
Inducted into University of North Alabama
Athletic Hall of Fame


1998
Selected for 50th Anniversary UNA Football Team


2000
Inducted into Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame



©Copyright 2003; All Rights Reserved
National Harlon Hill Awards Committee
Florence, AL 35361 U.S.A.