FLORENCE, Ala. -- Mars Hill College senior running back Jonas Randolph claimed the Harlon Hill Trophy Friday as the 2011 Division II College Football Player of the Year. Randolph received 120 total points and held a slim three-point margin over Washburn (Kan.) University's Dane Simoneau in the closest voting in the 26-year history of the award.
Delta State University senior quarterback Micah Davis was third with 101 points. The award winner is determined in voting by the Division II sports information directors and was presented in front of a crowd of 400 at the 26th annual Harlon Hill Trophy award banquet at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center. The Harlon Hill Trophy is sponsored by the City of Florence, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Opti-Net, Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and Herff Jones.
Randolph, a senior from Daleville, Ala., received 19 first-place
votes in the balloting as a record six players were first on 10 or
more ballots. Randolph is the fifth running back to win the award
in the last six years and is the first winner in the award's
history from the South Atlantic Conference. He led Mars Hill to its
first post season game since becoming an NCAA Division II member
while also re-writing the Lions' record books. He became the South
Atlantic Conference's career rushing leader with 5,608 yards and
led all NCAA divisions this season in rushing yards per game
(197.27). The SAC Offensive Player of the Year, Randolph's 2,170
yards in 2011 also set new SAC and school marks. He also had six
games of 200 or more rushing yards and nine games of over 100
rushing yards this season. He is a three-time first team All-Super
Region 2 honoree and was the Super Region 2 Offensive
Player of the Year this season. Randolph finished the year with 2,170 yards rushing on a Division II-leading 366 carries and scored 18 touchdowns. He averaged more than 37 yards per game ore than the next closest Division II rusher. Randolph has also been named a AFCA All-American, Daktronics All-American, AP Little All-American and a USA College Sports All-American.
Following Randolph, Simoneau and Davis in the voting were junior quarterback Brandon Kelsey of Midwestern (Texas) State (88 points), senior quarterback Adam Neugebauer of West Virginia Wesleyan (78), senior quarterback Adam Spitzlberger of Nebraska-Kearney (65), junior running back Joe Glendening of Hillsdale (29), senior running back Rashaad Slowley of Southern Connecticut State (25) and senior quarterback Lee Chapple of North Alabama (15).
The Hill Trophy is named for a former UNA player - Harlon Hill - who was a standout with the Lions from 1950-53 before going on to fame in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears. North Dakota State quarterback Jeff Bentrim won the initial Hill Trophy in 1986, before Texas A&M-Kingsville running back Johnny Bailey won three straight Hill trophies from 1987-89. Another North Dakota State quarterback, Chris Simdorn, claimed the 1990 award, followed by Pittsburg State's Ronnie West in 1991 and Ronald Moore in 1992, New Haven running back Roger Graham in 1993, Valdosta State quarterback Chris Hatcher in 1994, North Alabama linebacker Ronald McKinnon in 1995 , Truman State running back Jarrett Anderson in 1996, Bloomsburg running back Irvin Sigler in 1997, Emporia State running back Brian Shay in 1998 , Northern Colorado quarterback Corte McGuffey in 1999, Valdosta State quarterback Dusty Bonner in 2000 and 2001, and Grand Valley State quarterback Curt Anes in 2002. University of North Alabama senior quarterback Will Hall claimed the trophy in 2003. Colorado-Mines quarterback Chad Friehauf took the trophy in 2004, East Stroudsburg's Jimmy Terwilliger in 2005, Chadron State's Danny Woodhead in 2006 and 2007 and Abilene Christian's Bernard Scott in 2008. Wayne State (Mich.) running back Joique Bell won the 2009 Hill Trophy.
2011 HILL VOTE TOTALS
TOTAL 1st 2nd 3rd
Points Player Place Place Place
120 Jonas Randolph RB SR Mars Hill 19 21 21
117 Dane Simoneau QB SR Washburn 15 28 16
101 Micah Davis QB SR Delta State 16 19 15
88 Brandon Kelsey QB JR Midwestern State 18 11 12
78 Adam Neugebauer QB SR West Virginia Wesleyan 18 7 10
65 Jake Spitzlberger QB SR Nebraska-Kearney 12 8 13
29 Joe Glendening RB JR Hillsdale 4 4 9
25 Rashaad Slowley RB SR Southern Connecticut St.3 4 6
15 Lee Chapple QB SR North Alabama 1 4 4
* 106 total ballots cast