FLORENCE, Ala. — Texas A&M University-Commerce senior quarterback Luis Perez of Chula Vista, California has claimed the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year.
Perez received 198 total points and held a commanding 63-point margin over Gannon University junior running back Marc Jones at 135. Slippery Rock University senior defensive lineman Marcus Martin nished third at 96, marking the highest finish by a defensive lineman in the award’s 32-year history.
The award winner is determined in voting by the Division II sports information directors.
Perez, who has led Texas A&M-Commerce to a 13-1 record and into Saturday’s (Dec. 16) NCAA Division II National Championship Game, was on 85 of the 106 total ballots cast. He will be just the seventh Hill winner to also play in the Division II National Championship Game in the same season that he won the award. Five of the previous Hill winners, Jeff Bentrim of North Dakota State (1986), Chris Simdorn of North Dakota State (1990), Ronnie West of Pittsburg State (1991), Ronald McKinnon of North Alabama (1995) and Curt Anes of Grand Valley State (2002) also led their teams to the national championship the day after winning the Hill Trophy. Pittsburg State’s Ronald Moore (1992) is the only Hill winner to play on the losing team in the championship game.
The Hill Trophy will be presented to Perez on Friday, January 5 at a ceremony on the campus of the University of North Alabama, Hill’s alma mater.
The Harlon Hill Trophy is sponsored by Herff Jones, the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and the University of North Alabama.
Perez has thrown for 4,678 yards and 44 touchdowns this season, while completing better than 70 percent of his pass attempts. He has completed 398 of 566 passes leads Division II in total passing yards (4,678), passing yards per game (334.0) and passing touchdowns (44). He is ranked third in points responsible for (272), sixth in points responsible for per game (19.4), sixth in total offense (329.2) and tenth in passing efficiency (161.8).
Following Perez, Jones and Martin in the voting were senior quarterback Connor Jessop of Shepherd University (61), junior quarterback Amir Hall of Bowie State University (50), senior receiver J.T. Luper of the University of Central Okla- homa (39), senior running back Ja’Quan Gardner of Humboldt State University (24), junior quarterback Brook Bolles of the University of Central Missouri (14), junior running back Devontae Jackson of the University of West Georgia (12), and junior quarterback Harry Satterwhite of the University of West Alabama (7).
The Hill Trophy is named for a former University of North Alabama player – the late Harlon Hill – who was a standout with the Lions from 1950-53 before going on to fame in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears.
North Dakota State quarterback Jeff Bentrim won the initial Hill Trophy in 1986, before Texas A&M-Kingsville running back Johnny Bailey won three straight Hill trophies from 1987-89.
Another North Dakota State quarterback, Chris Simdorn, claimed the 1990 award, followed by Pittsburg State’s Ronnie West in 1991 and Ronald Moore in 1992, New Haven running back Roger Graham in 1993, Valdosta State quarterback Chris Hatcher in 1994, North Alabama linebacker Ronald McKinnon in 1995 , Truman State running back Jarrett Anderson in 1996, Bloomsburg running back Irvin Sigler in 1997, Emporia State running back Brian Shay in 1998 , Northern Colorado quarterback Corte McGuffey in 1999, Valdosta State quarterback Dusty Bonner in 2000 and 2001, and Grand Valley State quarterback Curt Anes in 2002. University of North Alabama senior quarterback Will Hall claimed the trophy in 2003. Colorado-Mines quarterback Chad Friehauf took the trophy in 2004, East Stroudsburg’s Jimmy Terwilliger in 2005, Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead in 2006 and 2007 and Abilene Christian’s Bernard Scott in 2008. Wayne State (Mich.) running back Joique Bell won the 2009 Hill Trophy, followed by Central Missouri quarterback Eric Czerniewski in 2010, Mars Hill running back Jonas Randolph in 2011, Shippensburg State quarterback Zach Zulli in 2012, Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh in 2013, Ferris State University quarterback Jason Vander Laan in 2014 and 2015 and Colorado School of Mines quarterback Justin Dvorak in 2016.
2017 Hill Vote Totals
|Total points||Name||Class||Position||School||1st place||2nd place||3rd place|
|198||Luis Perez||Senior||QB||Texas A&M-Commerce||44||25||16|
|96||Marcus Martin||Senior||DE||Slippery Rock||13||16||25|
|50||Amir Hall||Junior||QB||Bowie State||12||3||8|
|39||J.T. Luper||Senior||WR||Central Oklahoma||2||11||11|
|24||Ja’Quan Gardner||Senior||RB||Humboldt State||3||4||7|
|14||Brook Bolles||Junior||QB||Central Missouri||1||3||5|
|12||Devontae Jackson||Junior||RB||West Georgia||0||5||2|
|7||Harry Satterwhite||Junior||QB||West Alabama||1||0||4|