Cliff Harris Award
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Cliff Picks 36: NCAA Division II Football Players Named Finalists for 2023 Cliff Harris Award

[LITTLE ROCK, AR] –The Cliff Harris award, generously sponsored by Wright, Lindsey, Jennings LLP, proudly announces the selection of 36 standout student-athletes as finalists for the prestigious 2023 Cliff Harris Award for NCAA Division II.

This year’s finalists represent a talented group from various institutions across the nation, featuring All-Americans and Conference Players of the year for 2023.

“This year’s group of finalists is one of the most talented and accomplished we’ve ever seen,” said Cliff Harris, the award’s namesake. “It will be challenging to narrow this down to a single individual after reviewing the sensational seasons these players just finished.”

The finalists are:

1. Jamae Blank – JR – UNC-Pembroke

2. Jayden Broughton – JR – Benedict College

3. Peyton Buckley – JR – Augustana (SD) University

4. Garrett Cox – JR – Millersville (Pa.) University

5. Micah Cretsinger – JR – Saginaw Valley State University

6. Loobert Denelus – SR – Benedict College

7. Dioh Desuah – SR – Seton Hill University

8. Willie Drew – SR – Virginia State

9. Nick Evans – SR – University of Charleston (W.Va.)

10. Marquise Fleming – JR – Wingate University

11. Marcus Hansen – SO – Bemidji State

12. Robert Holtz – SR – Tiffin University

13. Landon Honeycutt – SO – Mars Hill University

14. Giye Jenkins – JR – University of New Haven

15. Josiah Johnson – JR – Ouachita Baptist University

16. Hayden Kelly – SR – University of Texas Permian Basin17. Mikael King – SO – Tuskegee (Ala.) University

18. Maven Kretche – JR – Minnesota State-Mankato

19. Gary Lewis – SO – Henderson State University

20. Salvatore Lupoli Jr – JR – Bentley (Mass.) University

21. Landry Mavungu – SR – University of Indianapolis

22. Christian McCarroll – SR – Grand Valley State

23. John McMullen – SR – University of West Florida

24. Eddie Miller Garrett – SR – Ohio Dominican

25. Rossy Moore – JR – University of Mount Union

26. Rico Payton – SR – Pittsburg State University

27. Andrew Pitts – SO – Angelo State University

28. Nolan Reeve – SR – Colorado School of Mines

29. Cam Rice – SO – West Liberty University

30. Clay Schueffner – SR – Winona State University

31. Melvin Smith Jr – JR – Southern Arkansas University

32. Shon Stephens – SR – Ferris State University

33. Dakari Streeter – SR – Missouri Western State University

34. Tanner Volk – JR – Central Washington

35. Nathaniel Wallace – SR – Harding University

36. Tyler Whary – SR – Kutztown University

These exceptional athletes have demonstrated outstanding performance and commitment to their teams throughout the season, embodying the spirit of the Cliff Harris Award. The winner for DII will be announced on Thursday, December 28th at noon Central Time.

For media inquiries, interviews, or additional information, please contact:

David Bazzel or Debbie Wyman– Little Rock Touchdown Club-

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• Twitter: @CliffHarrisAwd

• Instagram: @TheCliffHarrisAward

About the Cliff Harris Award: The Cliff Harris Award is an annual recognition program dedicated to celebrating exceptional defensive players in small college football. Named after NFL Hall of Famer Cliff Harris, the award acknowledges players who exhibit excellence on and off the field.

The Trophy: One of the most unique awards in all of college football, the $3,000 Cliff Harris Award trophy stands almost two foot tall and weighs 35 pounds. A rare two-figurine sports action bronze sculpture, the Cliff Harris Award represents an actual tackle by NFL Hall of Fame and Dallas Cowboy great Cliff Harris, against Harold Jackson of the Los Angeles Rams. What makes this trophy truly exceptional is its intricate design, showcasing extreme angles and attachment points that secure the two bronze players to a three-tier walnut wood base, setting it apart from any other trophy in all levels of college football. Crafted from fourteen distinct bronze pieces, its assembly process ranks among the most intricate and complex in sports awards. Every winner from DII, DIII and NAIA will receive their own Cliff Harris Award trophy.

Sculpted by Raymond Gibby and designed by David Bazzel, this trophy embodies excellence in both craftsmanship and football achievement.

Over the last decade, many of the finalists and winners have continued their outstanding football careers in the National Football League.

• Pierre Desir (Lindenwood, winner ’13)

• Malcom Butler (West Alabama, finalist ’13)

• Marqui Christian (Midwestern State, winner ’15)

• Matthew Judon (Grand Valley State, finalist ’15)

• Michael Joeseph (Dubuque, winner ’17)

• Corey Ballentine (Washburn, winner ’18)

• Kyle Duggar (Lenoir-Rhyne, winner ’19)

• Sam Roberts (Northwest Missouri State, winner ’21)

• Caleb Murphy (Ferris State, winner ’22)

For more information about the Cliff Harris Award and to stay updated on the latest news and developments, please visit

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