RUSSELLVILLE, AR – On Tuesday, the Great American Conference and the Little Rock Touchdown Club jointly announced they would become the presenters the Harlon Hill Trophy starting in 2018, ensuring the continued tradition of honoring the nation’s best Division II football player.
The National Harlon Hill Award Committee, in conjunction with the University of North Alabama, has served as the presenting organization since 1986. North Alabama will transition to Division I in the fall of the 2018.
“Having invested 32 years in the creation and promotion of this award program to honor Division II's top football student-athletes, we are excited and honored to have the Little Rock Quarterback Club and the Great American Conference step up and commit to carry the Harlon Hill Trophy forward," said Harlon Hill Award Committee Chairman Jeff Hodges. "We will work with them in every way that we can to make this transition as smooth as possible and are excited that both the Little Rock Quarterback Club and the GAC will have representatives attending the luncheon recognizing the 2017 winner on January 5 in Florence.”
The GAC office will oversee the nominating and voting processes. The DII Sports Information Directors nominate and serve as the voters. The GAC will also maintain the award’s history and records.
“The GAC is proud to play a part in continuing the tradition surrounding the Harlon Hill Trophy,” GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said. “The Florence community, especially Jeff Hodges and the staff at UNA, have created and sustained a great event for NCAA Division II football. We’re grateful that the Little Rock Touchdown Club is willing to partner with us to honor the next generation of exceptional D-II football standouts.”
Founded in 2004, the Little Rock Touchdown Club annually presents numerous college football awards, including the Cliff Harris Award to the nation’s best small college defensive player - named in honor of the former Ouachita Baptist standout.
“With the presentation of the Cliff Harris Award, the Touchdown Club already recognizes some of the best football players in the country at non-Division I schools,” said Little Rock Touchdown Club President David Bazzel. “We're deeply honored to be able to add the Harlon Hill Trophy to the list of awards we present each year. We've created one of the top football clubs in the country, and this announcement will help take us to the next level."
Texas A&M-Commerce quarterback Luis Perez claimed the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy. He led Texas A&M-Commerce to a 14-1 record and the NCAA Division II National Championship. He became the sixth Hill winner to also win the DII national title.
Since its creation, the Harlon Hill trophy, 645 different student-athletes nominated for the award since 1986, and those candidates have come form 161 different institutions. The national finalists for the Hill Trophy represent 106 different Division II schools and the 32 winners have come from 22 different institutions.