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AFL Press Release

AFL announces Yearly Honors at Awards Ceremony

Friday August 26, 2016

 Thompkins, Belton, Hills, and Davila Recognized for Performances on the Field

GLENDALE, AZ (August 26, 2016) – At the 2016 Awards Ceremony on Thursday, the Arena Football League announced the winners of its most coveted individual honors. Orlando Predators wide receiver Brandon Thompkins earned AFL Playmaker of the Year. Philadelphia Soul defensive back Tracy Belton was recognized as the Riddell Defensive Player of the Year. Jacksonville Sharks wide receiver Joe Hills was named the Under Armour Offensive Player of the Year. Arizona Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila garnered the AFL MVP of the Year.

Thompkins (5-10, 185, Arkansas State) had another great season as a kick return specialist and wide receiver for the Orlando Predators in 2015, leading the League in all kick return categories fielding 93 kickoffs for 1,823 yards and five touchdowns. The five-year veteran recorded 135 receptions for 1,631 yards and 38 touchdowns. He lead the League in all-purpose yards with 3,530 yards (1,631 reception 54 field goal return, 1,823 kick return, 22 rushing). Thompkins is the first Orlando Predator to win the award.

Belton (6’0, 180, Massachusetts) led the Soul with 90.0 total tackles, 29 passes defended, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and an AFL leading nine interceptions. The sixth-year veteran returned three interceptions for touchdowns. Belton becomes the first Soul player to earn Defensive Player of the Year in the history of the award. One of Belton’s standout games occurred against Portland on June 27 when he tallied 9.0 total tackles and two interceptions in the Soul’s 59-38 victory. He also earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Game against the Arizona Rattlers on May 14 when he collected 9.5 total tackles, a fumble recovery and two passes defended in 65-58 home victory.

Hills (6-4, 220, Tennessee State) set two single-season receiving records in Jacksonville history, totaling 161 receptions for 2,020 yards and a League-high 58 touchdowns in 2016. The three-time All-Arena selection, Hills raised his game to a new level in his sixth AFL season, leading all receivers in all major receiving categories. Hills had one of the best games in his AFL career in a Week 9 matchup against the Orlando Predators. He hauled in 15 receptions for 173 yards and eight touchdowns helping the Sharks beat the Predators, 59-56. Those game statistics helped Hills rank second in most receiving touchdowns (8) and most points scored (48) in a game in AFL history. Hills is the second Jacksonville Shark to win the award (Aaron Garcia, 2011).

Davila (6-3, 220, Cincinnati) continues to solidify himself as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the AFL. He led the League this season in completion percentage, completing almost 70 percent of his passes and in passing touchdowns with 110. The former Bearcat is in his seventh season with the Rattlers, and is looking to lead the Rattlers to their fourth ArenaBowl title in five years. Davila is the first player in AFL history to win the MVP of the Year Award. He previously won in 2014 and 2011.

The Arena Football League enters its 29th Season in 2016. Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network nationally broadcast AFL games each week, culminating with the ArenaBowl on ESPN. For all the latest news and discussion on the Arena Football League, follow the AFL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@aflarenaball).