Beyond the Basics: Roy & Marie Hiltons Free Youth Football Camp

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Roy Hilton was born in Georgetown, Mississippi, on March 23, 1943. Roy developed a passion for sports early on, particularly football. His athletic talent was evident from a young age. He attended Parrish High School where he started playing football in his junior year, but did not become a standout until he grew three inches taller before the start of his senior year. Roy was then recruited to play football at Utica Junior College in Utica, MS as a defensive end and offensive tackle. He left Utica to play football for Jackson State University where he became a starting defensive end. After two years at Jackson State where he excelled both academically and athletically, he caught the attention of NFL scouts, and in 1965, Roy was drafted by the Baltimore Colts.

Roy’s professional career as a defensive end spanned from 1965 to 1976, playing nine years for the Colts, one year for the New York Giants, and one year for the Atlanta Falcons. He was known for his strength, agility, and fierce competitiveness. Playing alongside Hall of Fame NFL legends like Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore, Roy contributed significantly to the Colts’ defense. 

One of his career highlights was playing against the NY Jets in Super Bowl III and winning Super Bowl V against the Dallas Cowboys with the Colts. Hilton had the game of his career against the Cowboys. Tallying two quarterback sacks, four tackles, and quarterback pressure/hurry that forced Craig Morton into making a bad throw that led to a critical interception in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, ultimately leading to the game-tying touchdown. After the game, Baltimore Colts head coach Don McCafferty walked up to Hilton, embraced him, and whispered one word into his ear, “Thanks.” He ended his career with 40+ sacks, one interception and one touchdown. 

Off the field, Roy married his high school sweetheart, Marie Hilton and was also deeply involved in his community, often participating in youth mentorship programs, football camps, and advocating for sports as a means of personal development and discipline. 

After retiring from professional football, Roy worked several jobs.  In 2008, he retired after 20 years of service as a Johns Hopkins University Campus Police Officer all while continuing his support of the younger generation. His leadership and experience were invaluable to many aspiring players from Mississippi that came after him, and even one of his grandsons, Brandon Copeland, who continued his legacy in the NFL with a 10 year career.

Roy Hilton passed away on January 6, 2019, at the age of 75. As a formidable athlete, a dedicated parent, and a community leader, he left an indelible mark on those who knew him. He is remembered not only for his contributions to football but also for his commitment to giving back to his community and helping the next generation succeed. He returned to Mississippi frequently to visit family, participate in football camps, and pour into younger versions of himself when the opportunity presented itself. He also ensured that his immediate family experienced all that Mississippi had to offer.

His legacy will continue this June 8th from 8am – 12pm with the Beyond The Basics’ inaugural Roy & Marie Hilton Free Youth Football Camp hosted by his grandsons Brandon (10-year NFL veteran) and Chad Copeland, as well as Mississippi hometown hero Senator Bradford Blackmon (D-21) for all children aged 11-17 years old at St. Andrew’s Episcopal, 370 Old Agency Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157.

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Beyond the Basics: Roy & Marie Hiltons Free Youth Football Camp

By Jackson Advocate News Service
May 28, 2024