FLORENCE, Ala. — A field of 34 initial nominees has been trimmed to 10 national finalists in regional voting for the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year.
The finalists were selected by the NCAA Division II sports information directors in regional voting and will now be placed on the national ballot where all 169 of the division’s SIDs will select the award’s 32nd winner. The top two players from Super Region 3 and Super Region 4 advanced to the national ballot, while three players advanced from Super Region 1 and Super Region 2 due to ties in the voting.
The list of 2017 finalists is comprised of five quarterbacks,three running backs, one receiver and a defensive lineman.
Five of the finalists helped lead their teams into the 2017 NCAA Division II playoffs and two are on team’s competing in this weekend’s quarterfinal matchups.
Advancing from Super Region 1 are senior quarterback Connor Jessop of Shepherd University (W.V.), junior running back Marc Jones of Gannon University (Pa.) and senior defensive end Marcus Martin of Slippery Rock University (Pa.).
Super Region 2 is represented by junior quarterback Amir Hall of the Bowie State University (Md.), junior running back and kick returner Devontae Jackson of the University of West Georgia and junior quarterback Harry Satterwhite of the University of West Alabama.
The top vote getters in Super Region 3 are junior quarterback Brook Bolles of the University of Central Missouri and senior receiver J.T. Luper of the University of Central Oklahoma.
Advancing from Super Region 4 are senior running back Ja’Quan Gardner of Humboldt State University (Calif.), and senior quarterback Luis Perez of Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Martin is just the tenth defender in 32 years to be named a Hill Trophy finalist and is the first since 2007.
Perez and Satterwhite will quarterback their respective teams in this weekend’s NCAA Division II quarterfinal playoff games, while Gardner was the 2015 Hill Trophy runner-up.
There have been 645 all-time Harlon Hill Trophy nominees since 1986 from 161 different NCAA Division II institutions.
National voting will conclude on December 9 and the winner of the 2017 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced on Friday, December 15.
The winner will be honored at a luncheon on the University of North Alabama campus on January 5, 2018.
The Hill Trophy is sponsored by the City of Florence, Ala., Opti-Net, Herff Jones and the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa.
2017 Harlon Hill Trophy Finalists
Super Regional 1
|Connor Jessop||QB||6-5||220||Senior||Shepherd||Ashburn, Va.|
|Marc Jones||RB||5-11||225||Junior||Gannon||Painesville, Oh.|
|Marcus Martin||DE||6-2||255||Senior||Slippery Rock||West Mifflin, Pa.|
Super Regional 2
|Amir Hall||QB||6-4||180||Junior||Bowie State||Bowie, Md.|
|Devontae Jackson||RB/KR||5-8||171||Junior||West Georgia||Marietta, Ga.|
|Harry Satterwhite||QB||6-1||182||Junior||West Alabama||Mobile, Ala.|
Super Regional 3
|Brook Bolles||QB||6-3||190||Junior||Central Missouri||Lincoln, Neb.|
|J.T. Luper||WR||5-9||175||Senior||Central Oklahoma||Sherman, Tex.|
Super Regional 4
|Ja’Quan Gardner||RB||5-7||205||Senior||Humboldt State||Ceres, Calif.|
|Luis Perez||QB||6-3||220||Senior||Texas A&M-Commerce||Chula Vista, Calif.|
Another North Dakota State quarterback, Chris Simdorn, claimed the 1990 award, followed by Pittsburg State receiver Ronnie West in 1991, Pittsburg State running back Ronald Moore in 1992, New Haven running back Roger Graham in 1993, Valdosta State quarterback Chris Hatcher in 1994.North Dakota State quarterback Jeff Bentrim won the initial Hill Trophy in 1986, followed by three-time winner – Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) running back Johnny Bailey – in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
North Alabama linebacker Ronald McKinnon became the first and so far only defensive player to win the award in 1995, followed by Truman State running back Jarrett Anderson in 1996, Bloomsburg University running back Irvin Sigler in 1997, Emporia State running back Brian Shay in 1998 and Northern Colorado quarterback Corte McGuffey in 1999.
The award had its second two-time winner when Valdosta State quarterback Dusty Bonner claimed the Hill Trophy in 2000 and 2001.
Grand Valley State quarterback Curt Anes won the Hill Trophy in 2002, followed by North Alabama quarterback Will Hall in 2003, Colorado School of Mines quarterback Chad Friehauf in 2004 and East Stroudsburg’s Jimmy Terwilliger in 2005. Four straight Hill Trophies were won by running backs, beginning with Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead in 2006 and 2007. Abilene Christian’s Bernard Scott won in 2008, followed by Wayne State (Mich.) running back Joique Bell in 2009.
Central Missouri quarterback Eric Czerniewski was the 2010 Hill winner, followed by Mars Hill running back Jonas Randolph in 2011, Shippensburg’s Zach Zulli in 2012, Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh in 2013, Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan in 2014 and 2015 and Colorado School of Mines quarterback Justin Dvorak in 2016.