Photo: Troy Mitchell/ HSU Sports Information)
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (KTHV) -- Henderson State's Kevin Rodgers has been named one of 24 candidates in the running for the 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year.
The list of candidates was announced Friday morning by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee. The list includes six players from each of the four Division II Super Regions.
Players are nominated and voted on by the sports information directors at the 168 NCAA Division II football-playing institutions. The 24 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 17.
Rodgers has earned GAC Offensive Player of the Week six times and was named NCAA.com and D2 Football National Player of the Week for his performance against McKendree.
The Rockwall, Texas native holds the HSU single-season and career records for touchdown passes, having 39 scoring strikes this season and a total of 48 touchdowns in 16 career games.
The sophomore signal-caller leads the nation in passing efficiency at 194.25 and has thrown for 300 or more yards in seven of nine games. For the season, Rodgers has completed 219-of-318 passes for a completion percentage of 68.9 and has totaled 3,381 yards.
Rodgers, who is the only sophomore among the 24 candidates, threw for a career-high 518 yards against Southern Arkansas and totaled 466 yards passing, going 30-for-44 with five touchdowns earlier in the year against Harding.
The winner of the 2012 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced at the 27th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on Friday, December 14 at the Florence Conference Center at 6:30 p.m.
The Hill Trophy is sponsored by the City of Florence, Ala., Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Opti-Net, the Marriott 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.
The group of 24 candidates includes nine quarterbacks, eight running backs, five receivers, a linebacker and a defensive lineman. There are 14 seniors, nine juniors and one sophomore.
Among the players vying for the 2012 award from the Super Regional 1 are senior wide receiver Tyron Laughinghouse of St. Augustine's University (N.C.), senior quarterback Kevin Morton of Kutztown University (Pa.), junior running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg University (Pa.), senior quarterback Kameron Smith of Winston-Salem State University (N.C.), senior running back Harvie Tuck of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and junior quarterback Zach Zulli of Shippensburg University (Pa.)
Candidates from Super Regional 2 are senior wide receiver Chris Bowden of Wingate University (N.C.), junior wide receiver Gerald Ford of Valdosta State University (Ga.), senior linebacker Corey Jones of Lane College (Tenn.), senior quarterback David Thomas of Miles College (Ala.), senior defensive end Ridge Wilson of the University of West Alabama and senior tailback Derrick Washington of Tuskegee (Ala.).
Super Regional 3 is represented by junior wide receiver John Brown of Pittsburg State University (Kan.), senior quarterback Tyler Eckenrode of Emporia State University (Kan.), senior running back Michael Hill of Missouri Western State University, junior quarterback Phillip Klaphake of St. Cloud State University (Minn.), sophomore quarterback Kevin Rodgers of Henderson State University (Ark.) and senior running back Rayon Simmons of Winona State University (Minn.).
Selected from Super Regional 4 are junior running back Kay Fiecher of the University of Indianapolis (Ind.), senior running back Joe Glendening of Hillsdale College (Mich.), senior quarterback Taylor Housewright of Ashland University (Ohio), junior running back Keidrick Jackson of Midwestern State University (Texas), junior wide receiver Jeff Janis of Saginaw Valley State University (Mich.) and junior quarterback Dustin Vaughn of West Texas A&M University.
Rodgers is the second Reddie in the last three years to be considered for the prestigious award. In 2010 Nick Hardesty was one of 9 candidates to advance to the national ballot, being one of the top three from Super Regional 3 to be selected.
Rodgers and the Reddies will finish the regular-season on Saturday when Henderson State plays host to Ouachita Baptist in the Southern Bancorp Battle of the Ravine at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium in Arkadelphia, Ark. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.
(Source: Henderson State Univ. Sports Information)