December 7, 2001
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - FRIDAY, DEC. 7, 2001
CONTACT: Jeff Hodges - (256) 765-4595


VALDOSTA STATE QUARTERBACK DUSTY BONNER TAKES 2001 HARLON HILL TROPHY AS
NCAA DIVISION II FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

FLORENCE, Ala. --  Valdosta State University quarterback Dusty Bonner claimed his second consecutive Harlon Hill Trophy Friday as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year, by the smallest victory margin in the awards sixteen year history.  Bonner received 209 total points in the voting while Grand Valley State junior quarterback Curt Anes received 201 total points.  The award winner is determined in voting by the Division II sports information directors and was presented in front of a crowd of almost 500 at the sixteenth annual Harlon Hill Trophy award banquet at the Florence Conference Center.  The Harlon Hill Trophy is sponsored  by Coca-Cola, the Florence Gas Department, The Real Yellow Pages from BellSouth and Northwest Airlink.

Bonner, a senior from Valdosta, Georgia, becomes only the second player in the award's sixteen year history to have claimed the Hill Trophy more than once.  Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) running back Johnny Bailey won the award three times from 1987 to 1989.  Bonner led the Blazers to a perfect 11-0 record and No. 1 national ranking this season, entering the Division II playoffs.  He  completed 231 of 319 passes for 3,214 yards and 43 touchdowns this season and had 98 touchdown passes in just two years at Valdosta State.  He finished second nationally in passing efficiency this season and ranked eighth in total offense.  He was Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year after completing better than 72 percent of his passes.  He set a school record and propelled his team into the national spotlight with an eight touchdown performance against then No. 1 ranked Delta State - throwing for six TDs and rushing for two others.

Grand Valley State University junior quarterback Curt Anes was second with 201 points and 52 first-place votes, and South Dakota State University senior running back Josh Ranek was third with 105 points and 10 first-place votes.  Following that trio in the voting were University of California-Davis senior quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan at 66,  Ferris State senior flanker  Clarence Coleman at 52,  Presbyterian College  senior quarterback Todd Cunningham  at 48, Western Washington University senior quarterback Scott Mitchell  at 17, Chadron State University senior quarterback Matt Strand at 11 and Truman State University senior  quarterback  Eric Howe at 8.

A total of 41 players were nominated for the 2001 Harlon Hill Trophy in their respective NCAA regions, with the top two players from each of the Northeast, South and Midwest regions and three from the West due to ties in voting.

Anes, a junior  from Kentwood, Mich., led Division II in both passing efficiency and total offense this season, completing 189 of 271 passes for 3,086 yards and 48 touchdowns, while being intercepted just three times.  In the process he led Grand Valley State to a perfect 10-0 record and into the Division II playoffs. He led the Lakers to set a Division II record for
points scored in a season (584) and a No. 1 ranking in team total offense at 600.8 yards per game.  

Ranek, a senior from Tyndall, S.D., is in the running for the Hill Trophy for the third time, and finished fourth in 1999.  He finished third in Division II in rushing this season with 1,804 yards, second in all-purpose yards with a 237.1 yard average, and tied for fifth in scoring with a 12.5 point per game average. Ranked finished second on the all-time Division II rushing list with 6,794 yards and rushed for more than 200 yards in a game 13 times in his career, including four times this season.  North Dakota State quarterback Jeff Bentrim won the initial Hill award in 1986, followed by three-time winner - Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) running back Johnny Bailey in 1987, 1988 and 1989. 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 and Bonner last season.


2001 HILL VOTE TOTALS
TOTAL           1st   2nd   3rd
Points Player Place Place Place
209 Dusty Bonner SR QB Valdosta State 38 41 13
201 Curt Anes JR QB Grand Valley State 52 15 15
105 Josh Ranek SR RB South Dakota State 10 19 37
66 J.T. O'Sullivan SR QB UC Davis 7 15 15
52 Clarence Coleman SR FL Ferris State 2 15 16
48 Todd Cunningham SR QB Presbyterian 6 10 10
17 Scott Mitchell SR QB Western Washington 3 1 6
11 Matt Strand SR QB Chadron State 1 3 5
8 Eric Howe SR QB Truman State 1 1 3


Copyright 2001; All Rights Reserved
National Harlon Hill Award Committee
Florence, AL
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