Ferris State QB Vander Laan repeats as Harlon Hill winner

Associated Press

Florence, Ala. — Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan won his second straight Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II’s top player.

Vander Laan’s 217 total points ranks as the fourth-highest total by a winner in the award’s 30-year history. He was honored Friday.

"I owe so much credit to my teammates and coaches for helping me with this award and I'm honored to receive it on their behalf," Vander Laan said. "When you look at the names of people who have won this in the past, it's amazing to be on that list and to be a two-time winner is just unreal.”

Vander Laan received 51 first-place votes among the 101 ballots cast by Division II sports information directors.

He’s the fourth player to win the Harlon Hill twice.

He passed for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 1,542 yards and 24 scores.

"This is a truly memorable day for Ferris State University and Bulldog Football," said FSU head coach Tony Annese. "Jason has obviously had an amazing career and been the ultimate leader for our squad, but the way in which he has carried himself both on and off the field over the past four years has meant so much more.”

Vander Laan was followed in the voting by Humboldt State running back Ja’Quan Gardner (107 points) and Colorado State-Pueblo running back Cameron McDondle, who got 90 points.

The trophy is named for the late Harlon Hill, a former North Alabama and Chicago Bears player.

Extra points

Star Farmington linebacker David Reese, once a commitment to Michigan’s 2016 recruiting class, announced on Friday that he would play college football for Florida

Reese, who was named to the News’ Dream Team, is ranked a three-star prospect and the No. 10 inside linebacker in the nation by He was in on 150 tackles (91 solo) with five sacks, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries this season.

... Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton, who survived near-fatal heat stroke to return to the team this season, has won the Courage Award, presented by the Orange Bowl and Football Writers Association of America.

Knighton collapsed during conditioning drills in February 2014. He spent 12 days in a coma, lost 55 pounds and underwent surgery to repair paralyzed vocal chords.

... Clemson receiver Mike Williams, out since injuring his neck in its opener, said he’ll return to the Tigers next season.

... Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has indefinitely suspended his second-best receiver, Devin Lauderdale, and will lose three sophomore defensive players to transfers.

A release from the athletic department says Devin Lauderdale’s suspension is for a “failure to uphold” school expectations for its athletes. The junior from Houston will have a chance to rejoin the team next season.

... Illinois coach Bill Cubit said co-defensive coordinator Mike Phair will run the unit himself next season with the departure of co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks, and his son, Ryan Cubit, has been promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.

... Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has dismissed offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord after the Wildcats’ second consecutive 5-7 finish.

... New Missouri coach Barry Odom has hired DeMontie Cross, a former teammate at the school, as his defensive coordinator, a day after Josh Heupel was hired as offensive coordinator.

... New South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has added another of his former Florida assistants, Coleman Hutzler, to his Gamecocks staff, as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach, a position he held at Boston College this past season.