FLORENCE - Ala. -- A total of 22 candidates are in the running for the 2011 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. The list of candidates was announced Thursday by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee. The list includes six players from Super Regions 1, 2 and 3 and four from Super Region 4.
Players are nominated and voted on by the sports information directors at the 148 NCAA Division II football-playing institutions. The 22 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 19.
The winner of the 2011 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced at the 26th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on Friday, December 16 at the Florence Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. This year’s Hill Trophy Banquet will also include the 13th 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 17 at Florence’s Braly Municipal Stadium at 10 a.m.
The Hill Trophy is sponsored by the City of Florence, Ala., Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Opti-Net, theMarriott 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.
Among the 2011 candidates are six players who were also candidates a year ago.
The group of 22 candidates includes 12 quarterbacks, nine running backs and one receiver. There are 16 seniors, five juniors and one sophomore.
Among the players vying for the 2011 award from the Super Regional 1 are senior running back Nic Cooper of Winston-Salem (N.C.) State University, senior wide receiver Trevor Kennedy of Mercyhurst (Pa.) College, junior quarterback Kevin Morton of Kutztown (Pa.) University, senior quarterback Adam Neugebauer of West Virginia Wesleyan University, senior running back Rashaad Slowley of Southern Connecticut State University and senior quarterback Ray Wagner of East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University.
Candidates from Super Regional 2 are junior running back David Carter of Morehouse (Ga.) College, senior quarterback Lee Chapple of the University of North Alabama, senior running back Travis Daniels of the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, senior quarterback Micah Davis of Delta State (Miss.) University, senior quarterbackCody Haffly of Wingate (N.C.) University and senior running back Jonas Randolph of Mars Hill (N.C.) College.
Super Regional 3 is represented by junior running back Joe Glendening of Hillsdale (Mich.) College, senior quarterback Clay Garcia of Colorado School of Mines, senior tailback Jesse Lewis of Colorado State University-Pueblo, sophomore quarterback Chris Mills of the University of Indianapolis (Ind.), senior running back Mike Noffsinger of Ohio Dominican University and senior quarterback Jake Spitzlberger of the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
Selected from Super Regional 4 are junior quarterback Mitchell Gale of Abilene Christian University, junior quarterback Brandon Kelsey of Midwestern State (Texas) University, senior quarterback Dane Simoneau of Washburn (Kan.) University and junior running back Jonathan Woodson of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
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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.
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 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. The last four Hill Trophies have been 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 and Central Missouri quarterback Eric Czerniewski in 2010.