Western senior running back Michael Hill is one of eight finalists for the highest honor in Division II football, the Harlon Hill Trophy, and has earned a chance to impress the pros this upcoming semester.
The Harlon Hill Trophy is given to the best player in D-II. Many consider it to be the Heisman Trophy of this level. Hill’s historic season at Western has been enough to catch the attention of other schools and coaches of all levels around the country. He continued to produce game changing stats week after week all season, earning himself the honor of being mentioned as one of the top athletes.
“Being a finalist means a lot to me just because all of the work that I have put in is presenting itself,” Hill said. “Not only that, but I am representing the entire football team because they are a part of this as well.”
The Harlon Hill Trophy was first awarded in 1986 and has been an annual award ever since. Although there have only been three award recipients who have been drafted, there have been winners of the honor who has been signed as a free agent in the NFL — such as the two-time winner of the award Danny Woodhead out of Chadron State, who currently plays for the New England Patriots.
That will be one possibility for Hill as he moves forward. The NFL is always looking to find talent wherever it can get it. With a team as talented as Western, NFL scouts have been eying what players Western has who could possibly make an impact at the next level.
“Teams have been around practice to check David Bass out and that helps me having a high caliber guy like that around to help me get my foot in the door,” Hill said.
Hill will take part in a pro day sometime this March. He will be dedicating a lot of his time training this winter to make sure his impression this spring will be as good as he can make it.
“These next few months will be a piece of the process to determine if I will get a shot or not in my opinion,” Hill said.
Hill represents Super Region 3 for the Harlon Hill Trophy, alongside the sophomore quarterback Kevin Rodgers out of Henderson State, whom Western beat out of the playoffs. Super Region 1 is represented by junior running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg University and junior quarterback Zach Zulli out of Shippensburg University. Representing Super Region 2 is the lone wide receiver of the group, Chris Bowden from Wingate University and senior running back Derrick Washington out of Tuskegee University. Super Region 4 is being represented by senior quarterback Taylor Housewright out of Ashland University and junior quarterback Dustin Vaughan from West Texas A&M. The list of the remaining candidates is according to the official listing of the Harlon Hill Trophy finalists on HarlonHillTrophy.com.
Hill racked up 2,168 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns, 202 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in 14 games this season. Hill has made his mark at Western with 4,969 total rushing yards, 35 rushing touchdowns, 882 receiving yards and nine total receiving touchdowns in 50 games here at Western.
Time will tell if Hill gets a chance to represent the St. Joseph community in the pros.