Harlan Hill awarded to Will Hall

Updated: December 13, 2003, 2:00 AM ET
Associated Press

FLORENCE, Ala. -- University of North Alabama quarterback Will Hall was named the nation's top Division II football player Friday night.

Hall received the Harlon Hill trophy during a ceremony on the eve of the Division II national championship game in Florence between Grand Valley State and North Dakota. The award is the Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Also, retired Washington Redskins defensive back Darrell Green was inducted into the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame.

Hall was chosen over two other finalists -- St. Cloud State quarterback Keith Heckendorf, who finished second despite getting more first-place votes, and Nebraska-Omaha running back Justin Kammrad.

The winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy is chosen in voting by Division II sports information directors. The trophy is named for Harlon Hill, a star receiver for North Alabama from 1950-1953.

In the voting, Hall received 150 total points and 22 first-place votes. Heckendorf received 115 points and 24 first-place votes, while Kammrad had 95 points and 12 first-place votes.

Hall, a senior from Amory, Miss., was Division II's top-rated passer, throwing for 2,586 yards and 23 touchdowns. He completed 70.1 percent of his passes.

He is the second North Alabama player to win the award. Linebacker Ronald McKinnon won the honor in 1995.

This year Hall, a 5-foot-9, 176-pounder who was not recruited out of high school, led North Alabama to a 13-0 record and to the semifinal round of the Division II playoffs, an amazing turnaround from last year's 4-7 team. The Lions were defeated last week by North Dakota 29-22.

He said the success of the Lions this year makes the award even sweeter.

"I put up good numbers last year, but we were 4-7 and nobody said a thing," Hall said. He accepted the award on behalf of the entire North Alabama team and the town of Florence.

"I'm so proud to be able to walk downtown and people are talking football again," Hall said.

After years of hearing that he was too short to play quarterback, Hall said he never considered switching positions.

"I couldn't play anything else. I was too slow," Hall said.

Heckendorf and Kammrad were bidding to become the first players from their respective schools to capture the award.

Heckendorf, who finished third in the balloting last season, passed for 2,905 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.

Kammrad led the nation in rushing with a school-record 1,866 yards, including 10 straight 100-yard efforts and four consecutive 200-yard games.

Green was the lone inductee into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony Friday night. He was picked for the hall by a 20-member selection committee.

Green, who played 20 seasons for the Redskins and earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl, played college football at Texas A&I, now Texas A&M-Kingsville. At Texas A&I, Green was the Lone Star Conference most valuable player in 1982.

Green is a member of the NCAA Team of the Quarter Century.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press