Ferris State junior quarterback Jayru Campbell was named recipient of the 2018 Harlon Hill Trophy on Friday during a live webcast in McKinney, Texas, as a lead-up to Saturday's NCAA Division II national championship game.
Campbell is the second FSU player ever to receive the Harlon Hill Trophy, following in the footsteps of two-time recipient Jason Vander Laan in 2014 and 2015. He will be honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club awards banquet on Jan. 10, 2019.The finalists were selected by the NCAA Division II sports information directors in regional voting and were placed on the national ballot where all 168 of the division's SIDs select the award's 33rd winner.
Five quarterbacks, two running backs, one wide receiver and a defensive end comprised the list of 2018 finalists. Five of the finalists helped guide their teams into the 2018 NCAA Division II playoffs.
Campbell is one of six players in school history who have been a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, joining former Ferris State quarterback Bill Love (2nd, 1995), linebacker Monty Brown (5th, 1992), wide receiver Clarence Coleman (5th, 2001) and quarterback Dave DenBraber (7th, 1987) along with two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan (2014-15), who is the only previous FSU player and one of only three in GLIAC history to claim the coveted prize.
Along with Campbell, the other national finalists include: Notre Dame College freshman running back Jaleel McLaughlin and Hillsdale senior quarterback Chance Stewart from Super Region #1, Bowie State senior QB Amir Hall and Valdosta State sophomore QB Rogan Wells from Super Region #2, Campbell and Emporia State senior QB Braxton Marstall along with Southern Arkansas senior receiver Ka'Ronce Higgins from Super Region #3, and Angelo State senior defensive end Markus Jones and Sioux Falls junior running back Gabriel Watson from Super Region #4.
Overall, Campbell is one of only two juniors and four non-seniors among the nine national finalists and is considered one of the favorites to win the coveted award.
The Hill Trophy is named for the late Harlon Hill, a former University of North Alabama standout, who excelled with the UNA Lions from 1950-53 before going on to fame in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears.
The junior quarterback from Detroit leads all NCAA Division II quarterbacks in rushing with 1,338 yards while throwing for 2,832 with 26 touchdowns and five interceptions. The GLIAC Player of the Year has accounted for a national best 47 touchdowns for the 15-0 Bulldogs.
Campbell, an AFCA and Associated Press first-team all-American, has made the most of his first season as FSU's starting quarterback, leading the Bulldogs to their first unbeaten regular-season and conference title since 2015.