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Danny Woodhead is Harlon Hill Award winner

December 15, 2006

Woodhead.jpg Chadron State tailback Danny Woodhead poses with the Harlon Hill trophy at Friday's ceremony. (AP photo)
Chadron State tailback Danny Woodhead is the winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy that is awarded annually to the outstanding football player in NCAA Division II. The presentation was made during a dinner attended by 400 Friday night in Florence, Ala.

Woodhead won the award by a large margin, it was announced. He received 48 first place votes while none of the other candidates had more than 15. The votes were cast by sports information directors at Division II schools that have football teams.

The junior from North Platte is the 21st recipient of the award and the first running back to win the trophy since 1998, when it went to Brian Shay of Emporia State. Quarterbacks had won the trophy seven straight years since then.

This year’s other finalists were quarterback Cullen Finnerty of Grand Valley State in Michigan and runningback Germaine Race of Pittsburg State in Kansas.

Woodhead had an incredible year in which he became college football’s all-time single-season rushing leader. He also became the Division II all-time all-purpose yardage and scoring leader.

During his brief acceptance speech, Woodhead credited his Christian faith, family and coaches for helping him and thanked the CSC offensive line and receivers for their excellent blocking.

This fall, he carried 344 times for 2,756 yards, an average of 8.0 yards a carry, had 3,158 all-purpose yards as a ball carrier and receiver and scored 38 touchdowns for 228 points while leading the Eagles to their 12-1 record.

He averaged 212 yards rushing, 243 all-purpose yards and 17.5 points a game.

Besides setting the single-season rushing record, Woodhead ranks second among all collegiate players in all-purpose yards to only Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State and third in scoring behind Dave Pugh of Mount Union in Ohio and Sanders.

Sanders finished with 3,250 all-purpose yards in 1988. Pugh scored 41 touchdowns in 2002 and Sanders 39 in ’88.

While playing in 33 games for the Eagles, Woodhead has exceeded 200 yards rushing 17 times for another all-college record. Shay was the previous leader with 15. Woodhead has scored touchdowns in 31 consecutive games. Entering this season, the Division II record was 24 by David Circus of Grand Valley State.

Earlier this month, Woodhead was named a first-team Academic All-American and has been placed on all three Division II All-American teams that have been released. He won the 55 meters at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s Indoor Track and Field Meet last winter.

Woodhead will enter his senior year needing just 621 yards to become Division II’s all-time career leading rusher and 934 yards to become the all-division rushing leader. Race, who has concluded his career, has the Division II record of 6,985 yards while the all-division record of 7,353 yards belongs to R.J. Bowers, who played at Grove City College, a Division III institution in Pennsylvania, 1997-2000.

For more details about the Harlon Hill Trophy, visit www.harlonhill.com.

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