Rodgers, Graham earn First-Team All-Region honors
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (HSU) - Henderson State quarterback Kevin Rodgers has been named one of the eight national finalists for the 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year.
The finalists were selected by the NCAA Division II sports information directors in regional voting and will now be placed on the national ballot where all 155 of the division's SIDs will select the award's 27th winner. The top two players from each of the Super Regions advanced to the national ballot.
Rodgers was the unanimous choice for Great American Conference Offensive Player of the Year while also being named First-Team All-GAC.
During the 2012 season, Rodgers earned GAC Player of the Week honors a record six times. The Rockwall, Texas product has thrown for 300 or more yards in seven of 10 games this season and has thrown for 400 or more yards in three of those games.
The sophomore signal caller leads the nation in passing efficiency (189.41), and ranks in the top five nationally in passing yards per game (359.0), total offense (359.0), completion percentage (68.02), and touchdown passes (40).
His 40 touchdown passes on the season ranks second in the nation and is the new HSU single-season record, surpassing the previous mark of 30. Rodgers also holds the school's career touchdown record with 49 touchdown passes in only 17 games.
His 3,590 yards of passing and total offense this season led the GAC and ranks second in HSU history. Rodgers has compiled 4,857 career passing yards which also ranks second at HSU.
Named NCAA.com and D2Football.com National Player of the Week for his performance against McKendree, Rodgers set a school and GAC single-game record with seven touchdown passes while completing 28-of-36 passes for 442 yards.
Rodgers turned in a career-high performance against Southern Arkansas by throwing for 518 yards passing while completing 32-of-46 passes. Against Harding, Rodgers totaled 466 yards passing while going 30-for-44 with 5 touchdowns.
One of his most efficient games of the year saw Rodgers complete 23-of-30 passes for 326 yards and five touchdowns against Arkansas-Monticello. In that same game, Rodgers completed 18 straight passes against the Boll Weevils.
In Henderson's first conference game of the season against Arkansas Tech, Rodgers threw for six touchdowns while rushing for another in Henderson's 73-34 rout of the Wonder Boys.
The list of 2012 finalists is comprised of four quarterbacks, three running backs and one receiver.
Six of the finalists helped lead their teams into the NCAA Division II playoffs this season and two of this weekend's second round playoff matchups will have Hill finalists facing each other.
Along with Rodgers, also representing Super Region 3 is senior running back Michael Hill of Missouri Western State University. Hill is the 2012 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Offensive Player of the Year after helping lead Missouri Western to an 11-1 record, an MIAA championship and into the second round of the Division II playoffs.
Hill rushed for 187 yards on 24 carries last weekend in leading the Griffons to a three-overtime win over Minnesota-Duluth in an opening round playoff game and now has 1,996 rushing yards on 269 carries this season. He has carried the ball 269 times and averages 7.4 yards per carry and 166.3 yards per game. He has added 16 pass receptions for 186 yards and three scores.
Rodgers and Hill will face each other on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs at Carpeneter-Haygood Stadium.
Advancing from Super Region 1 are junior running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg University (Pa.) and junior quarterback Zach Zulli of Shippensburg University (Pa.).
Super Region 2 is represented by senior wide receiver Chris Bowden of Wingate University (N.C.) and senior tailback Derrick Washington of Tuskegee University (Ala.).
Advancing from Super Region 4 are senior quarterback Taylor Housewright of Ashland University (Ohio) and junior quarterback Dustin Vaughan of West Texas A&M University. They will also face off Saturday in the Division II playoffs.
National voting will conclude on November 29 and the top three finishers will be invited to the Shoals for the presentation banquet.
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 Marriott Shoals Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. This year's Hill Trophy Banquet will also include the 14th induction into the Division II Football Hall of Fame.