LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nebraska-Kearney quarterback TJ Davis was named one of 36 finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy only for NCAA Division II.
A total of 36 student-athletes from across the nation have been nominated for the 2021 Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year.
Eight nominees hail from Super Region 1, eight from Super Region 2, 13 from Super Region 3 and seven from Super Region 4. UNK and the MIAA are in Super Region 3 where they are 13 candidates. That group includes four of the nation’s top seven rushers, five highly ranked quarterbacks and one of D2’s top receivers.
Davis is having a record book year as part of the Lopers 10-2 playoff season. He is the nation’s most efficient passer, has run for over 1,100 yards while passing for over 2,000 and has had a hand in 40 touchdowns. The redshirt junior and UNK face Angelo State in Texas on Nov. 27 in the second round of the playoffs.
Other Lopers to have made the Harlon Hill regional ballot were receiver/return specialist Doug Banks (1990), quarterback Justin Coleman (1999 and 2000), running back Mike Miller (2003), receiver Richie Ross (2005), receiver/return specialist Kyle Kaiser (2010), quarterback Jake Spitzlberger (2011) and linebacker Tyke Kozeal (2016). Coleman was the 2000 runner up after a sixth place finish as a junior with Spitzlberger placing sixth in 2011 when he was a senior.
Sports information directors at the 165 NCAA Division II football-playing institutions nominate and vote on the award. The 36 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 Nov. 29.
The winner of the 2021 award will be announced on Dec. 17 and the winner will be honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club awards banquet on Jan. 13, 2022.
The group of 36 candidates includes 13 quarterbacks, 10 running backs, six wide receivers, five linebackers and one defensive linemen and one corner back. The list features 17 seniors, 12 juniors, six sophomores and one freshman. One nominee — Harding’s Cole Chancey — returns after advancing to the finalist stage in 2019.
The Hill Trophy is named for the late Harlon Hill, the former University of North Alabama standout, who excelled with the Lions from 1950-53 before going on to fame in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears.