For IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 11, 2009
CONTACT: JEFF HODGES - (256) 765-4595


-- Wayne State (Mich.) University senior running back Joique Bell claimed the Harlon Hill Trophy Friday as the 2009 Division II College Football Player of the Year. Bell received 138 total points and held a commanding 42-point margin in the voting. West Liberty (W.V.) University junior quarterback Zach Amedro finished second in the voting with 96 total points and Arkansas Tech University senior quarterback Nick Graziano was third with 59 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 24th 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.

Bell, a senior from Benton Harbor, Mich., received 31 first-place votes in the balloting to 16 for Amedro.  With Bell's selection, it marks the fourth straight year that the Hill Trophy has gone to a running back, after a streak of seven straight wins by quarterbacks from 1999 to 2005. At the conclusion of the Division II regular season, Bell led all four NCAA divisions in rushing yards per game (189.45), scoring (17.5 points per game) and all-purpose yards (217.5 per game). He is the 2009 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year as voted by the league's coaches. He is also a four-time first-team All-GLIAC selection and finished his career with 6,728 career rushing yards, sixth best in Division II history and eighth best in NCAA history for all divisions.

Bell rushed for 2,084 yards, the 15th-best mark in NCAA Division II history, and scored 29 touchdowns. He also caught 23 passes for 293 yards and three scores. He was named GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week four times in 2009 and eight times in his career.  His 152.91 rushing yards per game (for 44 games) is 11th best in Division II history and 25th in NCAA history.  Bell scored 576 points in his career which ranks fourth in DII and fifth in NCAA history, while his 13.1 points per game average is fourth in DII and 10th in NCAA history. His 8,055 all-purpose yards is fourth in Division II and ninth in NCAA history.  He is just the fourth player in Division II history with two 2,000-yard rushing seasons (Abilene Christian's Bernard Scott in 2007-08; Emporia State's Brian Shay in 1996-98; and C.W. Post's Ian Smart in 2001-02). Bell rushed for 2,065 yards as a freshman to eclipse Johnny Bailey's freshman rushing mark.  In addition to his individual records, WSU had its best four-year win total since the class of 1978.

Following Bell, Amedro and Graziano in the voting were junior running back Isaac Odim of Minnesota- Duluth (57), senior quarterback Brad Iciek of Grand Valley State (57), senior quarterback Harrison Beck of North Alabama (46), junior quarterback Zack Eskridge of Midwestern State (29), senior running back LaRon
Council of Northwest Missouri State (19) and senior quarterback Trevor Harris of Edinboro (14).

Amedro, a junior from Moundsville, W.V., threw for 4,945 yards and 49 touchdowns this season while leading West Liberty to an 11-2 record and into the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs. He leads the nation in TD passes (49), ranks No. 2 in passing yards (380.4 ypg.), No. 3 in total offense (378.5 ypg.) and No. 4 in passing efficiency (169.6) He is the only NCAA quarterback (all divisions) to surpass 300 passing yards and 300 yards of total offense in every game this season. The 13 300-yard games are all-time NCAA Division II single-season passing and total offense records He completed 27-of-32 passes for a school-record 540 yards and six TDs in an NCAA Division II regional semifinal victory against Edinboro (Pa.). He completed 70 passes of 20 yards or more this year with 33 covering more than 30 yards His 4,945 passing yards and 49 touchdown passes rank No. 3 on the all-time NCAA Division II single- season list. The West Liberty attack leads the nation in total offense (542.3 ypg.), scoring offense (47.3 ppg.) and touchdowns (85) Amedro led West Liberty to a No. 9- ranking and to a school-record 11-win season. The Hilltoppers were the top seed in the NCAA Division II Super Region One playoff field and advanced to the quarterfinals.

Graziano, a senior from Moraga, Calif., was selected Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 4,313 yards and 38 touchdowns. He was chosen first-team All-GSC and was GSC Offensive Player of the Week four times. selected him as it's National Offensive Player of the Week three times and he was named Daktronics Super Region 2 Offensive Player of the Year. He set a school record with 546 total yards against Delta State and tied a school record with six TD passes against West Georgia. He also had the school's first-ever 400-yard passing game this season, and then did it five more times. Graziano had 58 plays of 20 yards or more in 2009. He completed 333-of-538 passes with just 12 interceptions and a 61.9 percent completion percentage. He also rushed for 455 yards and seven touchdowns. His 4,313 passing yards is the most in GSC history and he led Tech to a 10-2 record and into the second round of the Division II playoffs.

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.

TOTAL 1st 2nd 3rd
Points Player Place Place Place

138 Joique Bell RB SR Wayne State 31 18 9
96 Zach Amedro QB JR West Liberty 16 17 14
59 Nick Graziano QB SR Arkansas Tech 7 17 8
57 Isaac Odim RB JR Minnesota-Duluth 7 10 16
57 Brad Iciek QB SR Grand Valley State 7 11 14
46 Harrison Beck QB SR North Alabama 7 8 9
29 Zack Eskridge QB JR Midwestern State 6 2 7
19 LaRon Council RB SR Northwest Missouri State 3 3 4
14 Trevor Harris QB SR Edinboro 2 2 4

Year Player Pos. School Point Total
1986 Jeff Bentrim QB North Dakota State University 133
1987 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&M University-Kingsville 106
1988 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&M University-Kingsville 158
1989 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&M University-Kingsville 182
1990 Chris Simdorn QB North Dakota State University 123
1991 Ronnie West WR Pittsburg State University 109
1992 Ronald Moore RB Pittsburg State University 148
1993 Roger Graham RB University of New Haven 160
1994 Chris Hatcher QB Valdosta State University 209
1995 Ronald McKinnon LB University of North Alabama 188
1996 Jarrett Anderson TB Truman State University 207
1997 Irvin Sigler TB Bloomsburg University 208
1998 Brian Shay RB Emporia State University 303
1999 Corte McGuffey QB Northern Colorado 205
2000 Dusty Bonner QB Valdosta State University 156
2001 Dusty Bonner QB Valdosta State University 209
2002 Curt Anes QB Grand Valley State University 271
2003 Will Hall QB University of North Alabama 150
2004 Chad Friehauf QB Colorado School of Mines 194
2005 Jimmy Terwilliger QB East Stroudsburg University 121
2006 Danny Woodhead RB Chadron State 187
2007 Danny Woodhead RB Chadron State 175
2008 Bernard Scott RB Abilene Christian 253
2009 Joique Bell RB Wayne State (Mich.) 138

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National Harlon Hill Awards Committee
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