LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Corey Ballentine, senior defensive back from Division II Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas was selected as the winner of the 2018 Cliff Harris Award presented annually by the Little Rock Touchdown Club and Wright Lindsey Jennings, LLP. The award honors the nation’s small college defensive player of the year representing Division II, Division III and NAIA colleges and universities.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2018 @CliffHarrisAwd Corey Ballentine @cbxiii__ defensive back from @IchabodFTBL @wusports @WashburnUniv @NCAADII @NCAA #SmallCollegeDefensivePlayerOfTheYear pic.twitter.com/xqwNH5l7DU— CLIFF HARRIS AWARD (@CliffHarrisAwd) December 24, 2018
More than 5,000 defensive players from approximately 500 colleges are eligible to win the award. The $3,000 Cliff Harris Trophy will be presented by Cliff Harris at the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet on January 10. Special guest speaker for the banquet is former Heisman Trophy winner, Super Bowl MVP and ESPN College Game Day analyst Desmond Howard.
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The 6’0 195 pounder from Topeka, Kansas was an AFCA All-American cornerback in 2018 for the Ichabods and became one of the top kick returners, kick blockers and track sprinters in Washburn history. Ballentine will play in the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 26, 2019.
One of my favorite CFB awards is the @CliffHarrisAwd (top small-college def player). Here are my 3 favorites (all w/ NFL talent) for the award, which will be announced Monday:@IchabodFTBL CB Corey Ballentine@ASURamFootball DL Markus Jones@SCfootball_ LB Nick Giorgio— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) December 21, 2018
The Cliff Harris Award recognizes the top vote recipients from all three divisions.
Division II & overall winner – COREY BALLENTINE, 6’0 180, Senior defensive back, Washburn University
Division III – TIE – NICK GIORGIO, 6’1 250, Senior defensive end, Springfield College and JAVON MUHAMMAD, 6’1 210 – Senior defensive lineman, MacMurray College
NAIA – TIE – CURT BOEKE, 6’5 265, Senior defensive lineman, Dakota State and SHAQ BRADFORD, 6’0 220 – Junior defensive end, Kansas Wesleyan