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Slippery Rock QB Long Named Finalist for 2023 Harlon Hill Award

Slippery Rock quarterback Brayden Long. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Following regional voting, the Little Rock Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Great American Conference, revealed the nine finalists for the 2023 Harlon Hill Trophy, the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year, with Slippery Rock quarterback Brayden Long making the cut.

Long advanced through the voting in Super Region #1. He was voted the PSAC Western Division Offensive Athlete of the Year and has completed 279 passes for 3,486 yards and 35 touchdowns so far this season. He has only thrown five interceptions and has an efficiency rating of 166.4, with at least one more game left to play this season, as The Rock hosts Kutztown on Saturday in a NCAA Division II Football Championship quarterfinal.

Michael Herzog, a senior running back from Hillsdale College, was the other finalist to advance out of Super Region #1.

The NCAA Division II sports information directors selected the finalists through a round of regional voting. The nine finalists will now be placed on the national ballot where all 176 of the division’s school and conference SIDs will select the award’s 37th winner.

The top two players from the four Super Regions advanced to the national ballot. A tie in Super Region #3 resulted in three finalists coming from the region. Seven quarterbacks, one running back and one defensive back comprised the list of 2023 finalists.


Two quarterbacks that met in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday – Delta State’s Patrick Shegog and Valdosta State’s Sammy Edwards – moved on from Super Region #2.

From Super Region #3, Central Missouri junior quarterback Zach Zebrowski, Emporia State senior quarterback Braden Gleason and Southern Nazarene senior quarterback Gage Porter earned spots on the national ballot.

Colorado School of Mines senior quarterback John Matocha, the 2022 Harlon Hill recipient, and Central Washington safety Tanner Volk garnered the two finalist slots from Super Region #4. Matocha can become fifth player to win multiple Harlon Hill awards and the first since Ferris State’s Jason Vander Laan won in 2014 and 2015.

Six of the nine finalists guided their teams into the 2023 NCAA Division II playoffs and four – Edwards, Long, Matocha and Volk – will compete in this weekend’s quarterfinal matchups.

The winner of the 2023 award will be announced on Friday, December 15 and the winner will be honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club awards banquet on Friday, January 12, 2024.


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.


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