Harlon Hill Trophy
|Harlon Hill Trophy|
|Awarded for||NCAA Division II college football player of the year|
|Presented by||National Harlon Hill Awards Committee
Sports information directors
|Currently held by||Zach Zulli, Shippensburg|
The Harlon Hill Trophy is an award in American college football given to the individual selected as the most valuable player in NCAA Division II. The award is named for former University of North Alabama and National Football League player Harlon Hill. It was first given in 1986 to Jeff Bentrim of North Dakota State University. It is often considered to be the Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
Nominations for the trophy are made by sports information directors (SIDs) from the 156 schools that participate in Division II football. All of the nominees are then presented to a four-member regional Advisory Committee, one for each competition region (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West). Each committee is composed of four SIDs familiar with the process, who select up to six players who they deem worthy of the award, and give their results to the Voting Coordinator.
The 24 players selected in the regional committees are referred to as "Candidates". The regional candidates are then presented to the regions' SIDs, who vote for a first, second, and third place. Each first place vote earns the player three points, while second place votes earn two, and third place votes one point. The top two players selected in each region are the "Finalists" and are placed on a national ballot.
The national ballot is open to all of the SIDs, who vote for first, second, and third place amongst the eight finalists. The top three finishers are invited to the awards presentation held during the Division II Championship weekend in Florence, Alabama.
The Harlon Hill Trophy is 30 inches tall (2 1/2 feet) and weighs 63 pounds. The football on top is a life-size replica of an actual game football and sits on a solid walnut base. The approximate value of the trophy is $2,300. It was created by Herff Jones, Inc. of Indianapolis, Ind., which also makes such notable awards as the Heisman Trophy and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Each year's winner of the Hill Trophy is awarded a trophy to keep. The original Hill Trophy remains on display in the Shoals year-round and bears the names of each year's recipient. The award was first presented in 1986.
Replicas of the Harlon Hill Trophy are on display at:
- The College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.
- The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Ala.
The trophy is named for Harlon Hill, who played at Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) from 1950 to 1953, where he was named an NAIA All-American in his senior year. Hill was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 15th round of the 1954 NFL Draft. He played for the Chicago Bears (1954–61), Pittsburgh Steelers (1962), and Detroit Lions (1962). Hill was the NFL's Rookie of the Year in 1954 and its most valuable player in 1955, both voted by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He was a three-time All-Pro selection between 1954 and 1956.
The trophy was first awarded in 1986 and was manufactured by Herff Jones. The trophy is 30 inches (76 cm) tall and weighs 63 pounds (29 kg). It is full-size replica of a football and sits on a solid-walnut base. The trophy is on display in Florence, with a new name added each year.
Through 2009, only three winners have been selected in the NFL Draft. Three-time winner Johnny Bailey was selected by the Chicago Bears in the ninth round of the 1990 draft. Bailey played six seasons in the NFL and was selected to the 1993 Pro Bowl. Ronald Moore was taken by the Phoenix Cardinals in the fourth round in 1993 and played six seasons. Bernard Scott was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round in 2009 and debuted during his rookie season in 2010.
Others were signed in the NFL as undrafted free agents. Two-time winner Danny Woodhead made his NFL debut with New York Jets in 2009. Ronald McKinnon signed with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played from 1996 to 2004. He played an additional season for the New Orleans Saints for a total of ten seasons in the league, recording over 1,000 tackles.
Of the 27 winners through 2012, 20 have been seniors, six juniors, and one sophomore. Three players have won the award multiple times: Johnny Bailey in 1987, 1988, and 1989, Dusty Bonner in 2000 and 2001, and Danny Woodhead in 2006 and 2007. All but one winner (Ronald McKinnon, 1995) have been offensive positions.
|1986||Jeff Bentrim||Senior||North Dakota State||Quarterback|
|1987||Johnny Bailey||Sophomore||Texas A&I||Running back|
|1988||Johnny Bailey||Junior||Texas A&I||Running back|
|1989||Johnny Bailey||Senior||Texas A&I||Running back|
|1990||Chris Simdorn||Senior||North Dakota State||Quarterback|
|1991||Ronnie West||Senior||Pittsburg State||Wide receiver|
|1992||Ronald Moore||Senior||Pittsburg State||Running back|
|1993||Roger Graham||Junior||New Haven||Running back|
|1994||Chris Hatcher||Senior||Valdosta State||Quarterback|
|1995||Ronald McKinnon||Senior||North Alabama||Linebacker|
|1996||Jarrett Anderson||Senior||Truman State||Running back|
|1997||Irvin Sigler||Senior||Bloomsburg||Running back|
|1998||Brian Shay||Senior||Emporia State||Running back|
|1999||Corte McGuffey||Senior||Northern Colorado||Quarterback|
|2000||Dusty Bonner||Junior||Valdosta State||Quarterback|
|2001||Dusty Bonner||Senior||Valdosta State||Quarterback|
|2002||Curt Anes||Senior||Grand Valley State||Quarterback|
|2003||Will Hall||Senior||North Alabama||Quarterback|
|2004||Chad Friehauf||Senior||Colorado Mines||Quarterback|
|2005||Jimmy Terwilliger||Junior||East Stroudsburg||Quarterback|
|2006||Danny Woodhead||Junior||Chadron State||Running back|
|2007||Danny Woodhead||Senior||Chadron State||Running back|
|2008||Bernard Scott||Senior||Abilene Christian||Running back|
|2009||Joique Bell||Senior||Wayne State||Running back|
|2010||Eric Czerniewski||Senior||Central Missouri||Quarterback|
|2011||Jonas Randolph||Senior||Mars Hill||Running back|
- City of Florence
- Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa
- Florence-Lauderdale Tourism
- "How The Winner is Selected". National Harlon Hill Awards Committee. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
- "Who is Harlon Hill?". National Harlon Hill Awards Committee. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- "The History of the Harlon Hill Trophy". National Harlon Hill Awards Committee. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- "Johnny Bailey". NFL. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Ronald Moore". NFL. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Bernard Scott". Cincinnati Bengals. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Danny Woodhead". NFL. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- McIntyre, Jeff (19 December 2009). "The graduate, starring Ronald McKinnon". Times Daily. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Previous Harlon Hill Trophy Winners". National Harlon Hill Awards Committee. Retrieved 28 December 2009.