FLORENCE - Ala. -- A total of 24 candidates are in the running for the 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. The list of candidates was announced Friday morning by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee. The list includes six players from each of the four Division II Super Regions.
Three players from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) were among the six players from Super Region #4 that were named candidates for the award. Senior running back Joe Glendening of Hillsdale College (Mich.), senior quarterback Taylor Housewright of Ashland University (Ohio) and junior wide receiver Jeff Janis of Saginaw Valley State University (Mich.) joined junior running back Kay Fiecher of the University of Indianapolis (Ind.), junior running back Keidrick Jackson of Midwestern State University (Texas), and junior quarterback Dustin Vaughn of West Texas A&M University as the six players selected from Super Regional 4.
In 2011, Glendening was a regional winner in the Harlon Hill balloting and was a national semifinalist for the award. He is one of two players in the nation to reach this stage of the balloting in back-to-back years, along with Kutztown QB Kevin Morton.
Glendening is Hillsdale College's all-time leading rusher with 4,561 career rushing yards and his 60 total touchdowns scored in his career are also a school record. Earlier this season, he surpassed the school career record for carries, and has 936 entering Saturday's season finale at Northwood.
The GLIAC rushing leader in 2010 and 2011, Glendening was a First-Team All-American and the GLIAC Player of the Year last year, and holds every significant single-season rushing record in school history. He has 25 career 100-yard rushing games and has at least one rushing touchdown in eight of the team's 10 games this season.
Housewright is in his third season as AU's starting quarterback. He's helped lead this year's team to a 10-0 record. AU is ranked fifth in the country and has won the first GLIAC football championship in school history. This year's team is only the second in school history to win 10 or more games in a season. It has a chance to be the fourth team in program history to complete the regular season without a loss.
Housewright has completed 205-of-301 passes (68.1 percent) for 2,713 yards. He has 27 touchdown passes and has been intercepted once.
Already this season Housewright has set the NCAA Division II record for consecutive passes without an interception (377). He has 27 TD passes, which is the second highest single-season mark in school history. Housewright is second on AU's career list for touchdown passes, completions, attempts and passing yards. His record as Ashland's starting quarterback is 24-8.
Janis has had a record breaking season for the Cardinals this year. To date his 96 receptions rank third in DII, while his 1470 yards are top in the Nation. He has also caught 15 touchdown pass this season and has been named the GLIAC Offensive "Player of the Week" three times this season.
Janis registered a GLIAC and SVSU record 300 yards receiving against Lake Erie in week 4, he also broke the GLIAC and SVSU mark for receptions with an 18 catch effort against Michigan Tech in week 9. In that same contest he eclipsed the single season SVSU marks for receptions and yards in a season. He currently sits just nine catches short of breaking the single season GLIAC mark of 89 receptions.
Players are nominated and voted on by the sports information directors at the 168 NCAA Division II football-playing institutions. The 24 initial candidates will be placed on regional ballots and the top two players from each of the four NCAA regions will advance to the national ballot when regional voting concludes on November 17.
The winner of the 2012 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced at the 27th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on Friday, December 14 at the Florence Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. This year’s Hill Trophy Banquet will also include the 14th induction into the Division II Football Hall of Fame.
Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight and can be purchased by calling the Shoals Chamber of Commerce at (256) 764-4661.
The NCAA Division II Championship Game is scheduled for December 15 at Florence’s Braly Municipal Stadium at noon.
The Hill Trophy is sponsored by the City of Florence, Ala., Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Opti-Net, the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and Herff Jones.
Candidates were initially nominated by the sports information directors at their respective schools and those nominations were then reviewed by the Hill Regional Advisory Committees, which trimmed the list of candidates.