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Top Five Surprises of 2015

Posted Jan 25, 2016

Giants.com ranks the best surprise standouts and moments of the 2015 season

STONY BROOK’S WILL TYE LEADS ALL ROOKIE TIGHT ENDS



Tight end Will Tye did much more than become the first product of Stony Brook University to appear in an NFL game in 2015. He led all rookie tight ends in receptions (42) and receiving yards (464) while tying Oakland’s third-round draft choice Clive Walford for most receiving touchdowns with three. For his breakout season, Tye earned All-Rookie honors by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) and NFL.com. 

>> WILL TYE 8-YARD TD | MANNING TO TYE FOR 5 YARD TOUCHDOWN





HARRIS BECOMES MORE THAN A RETURN SPECIALIST



Former Cowboy Dwayne Harris signed with the Giants as a free agent to show his skills offensively as well as on special teams, where he made his mark in four seasons with Dallas. And while he did make an impact as a return specialist -- he became the first Giant to have a punt return touchdown and a kickoff return touchdown in the same season since Jimmy Patton in 1955 -- Harris shattered previous career highs in receptions (36), receiving yards (396) and receiving touchdowns (four). In his four seasons combined with the Cowboys, Harris recorded 33 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns. Harris also became the first player in Giants history to have a kickoff return touchdown, punt return touchdown and receiving touchdown in a season.

>> 9-YARD TOUCHDOWN ON 4TH DOWN | HARRIS ONE-YARD TD CATCH





WHITLOCK EMERGES AS A TWO-WAY PLAYER



Dubbed a “tough hombre” by Tom Coughlin, Nikita Whitlock supplanted four-year veteran Henry Hynoski at fullback after impressing the staff throughout the preseason and training camp. But in addition to his blocking duties, Whitlock became a secret weapon late in games as a pass rusher on the defensive line and recorded a sack and four quarterback hits. He also added five special teams tackles as he contributed in every phase of the game.





UNDRAFTED ‘UNGA MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT



When Uani ‘Unga was signed to a reserve/future contract the day after the 2014 season ended, no one on the outside knew his name, let alone thought he would be the starting middle linebacker in the season opener. But that’s exactly what the undrafted product from Brigham Young did in 2015. In his first game, ‘Unga recorded 12 tackles (10 solo) and an interception against the Cowboys. ‘Unga went on to play in 13 games with three starts, racking up 59 tackles (two for loss), two interceptions, two forced fumbles, four passes defensed and a quarterback hit.

>> UANI ' UNGA INTERCEPTION | 'UNGA FORCES FUMBLE, GIANTS RECOVER





NEW PUNTER WING TIES A FRANCHISE RECORD



Nine days before the season kicked off, the Giants made a trade with the Steelers and acquired second-year punter Brad Wing in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft choice. The Giants simultaneously released veteran Steve Weatherford, who had been the team’s punter for the previous four years. In his first season with Big Blue, Wing, a native of Melbourne, Australia, finished fifth in the NFL with 33 punts inside the 20-yard line. That mark tied the franchise record held by Brad Maynard, who notched 33 twice in 1997 and 1998. 

>> BRAD WING TALKS GIANTS UPSIDE IN 2016