LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Great American Conference announced Shepherd junior quarterback Tyson Bagent as the winner of the 2021 Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year.
Bagent received 169 total points; 63 points clear of Nebraska-Kearney quarterback TJ Davis. Northwest Missouri State’s Al McKeller placed third. Quarterbacks finished first and second for the third time in the last 10 years.
Division II Sports Information Directors act as the voter for the award. A total of 89 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.
Bagent led the Rams to a 13-2 record and a spot in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs. He finished his season as the national leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and points responsible for. He produced just the ninth season across all three NCAA divisions – and only the second in Division two – with at least 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes. He tallied 44 first-place votes and he appeared on 66 of the 89 ballots.
Though only a junior, he already ranks in the top 15 in DII history in career passing yards and touchdowns. He will enter the 2022 season needing 3,888 yards to break Tusculum’s Bo Cordell record and 31 passing touchdowns to surpass the mark of 148 set by East Stroudsburg’s Jimmy Terwilliger from 2003 to 2006.
He also joins Bloomsbug’s Irvin Sigler (1997), Terwilliger (2005), Shippensburg’s Zach Zulli (2012), Bloomsburg’s Franklyn Quiteh (2013) and Slippery Rock’s Roland Rivers III (2019) as the sixth player from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference to take home the Harlon Hill. The PSAC breaks a tie with the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Gulf South Conference and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, for the most Hill awards won by a single DII conference.
Bagent’s honor makes Shepherd the 23rd Division II institution to produce a Harlon Hill winner. Previously, the Rams had featured nine Hill regional nominees and six finalists.
He becomes the seventh-straight quarterback to claim the award to match the longest streak by one position. Quarterbacks also won seven straight Hill awards from 1999 to 2005.
Bagent will be honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club awards banquet on Friday, January 14, 2022.
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.