LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Little Rock Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Great American Conference, announced Ferris State junior quarterback Jayru Campbell as the winner of the 2018 Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year.
Campbell received 202 total points, 76 points clear of Valdosta State’s Rogan Wells. Notre Dame College’s Jaleel McLaughlin finished third, the second-highest placing by a freshman in the award’s 33-year history bested only by the second-place showing of Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Johnny Bailey in 1986.
Division II Sports Information Directors act as the voters for the award. A total of 113 SIDs participated in the final voting. The point system of three points for a first place vote, two for second and one for third determined the point total.
Campbell, who has led the Bulldogs to a 15-0 record and into Saturday’s NCAA Division II National Championship game, earned 47 first-place vote and appeared on 83 of the 113 ballots. He becomes the eighth Hill winner to also play in the Division II National Championship Game in the same season that he won the award. Six of the previous Hill winners, Jeff Bentrim of North Dakota State (1986), Chris Simdorn of North Dakota State (1990), Ronnie West of Pittsburg State (1991), Ronald McKinnon of North Alabama (1995), Curt Anes of Grand Valley State (2002) and last year’s recipient, Texas A&M-Commerce’s Luis Perez have led their teams to the national championship after winning the Hill Trophy. Pittsburg State’s Ronald Moore (1992) owns the distinction the only Hill winner to play on the losing team in the championship game.
For the first time in the 33-year history of the award, the top two finishers will meet in the national title game. In four previous instances, the winner and the runner-up met in a DII playoff game - 1988 (Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Johnny Bailey vs Portland State’s Chris Crawford), 1995 (North Alabama’s Ronald McKinnon vs Ferris State’s Bill Love), 2002 (Grand Valley State’s Curt Anes vs C.W. Post’s Ian Smart) and 2007 (Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead vs Abilene Christian’s Bernard Scott). The Harlon Hill winner’s squad has won three of the four contests.
Campbell has guided the Bulldogs to the Division II national championship game for the first time in program history. He leads all DII quarterbacks with 1,338 rushing yards. He has added more than 2,800 yards through the air. He has thrown for 26 touchdowns, rushed for 20 scores and even added a touchdown reception. He leads Division II in points responsible for with 282.
Campbell joins former Ferris State signal caller Jason Vander Laan (2014 and 2015) as Bulldogs to win the Hill trophy. Ferris State matches Texas A&M-Kingsville and Valdosta State as the only Division II programs with three Harlon Hill winners.
Campbell will be honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club awards banquet on Thursday, January 10, 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.