WT QB in prestigious company

Dustin Vaughn

West Texas A&M junior quarterback Dustin Vaughan has been named one of eight finalists for the prestigious Harlon Hill Trophy, which was announced Monday. The field of 24 candidates was trimmed to eight national finalists in regional voting for the NCA Division II College Football Player of the Year.The finalists were selected by the NCAA Division II sports information directors in regional voting and will now be placed on the national ballot where all 155 of the divisionâ??s SIDs will select the awardâ??s 27th winner. The top two players from each of the Division IIâ??s Super Regions advanced to the national ballot.

The list of 2012 finalists is comprised of four quarterbacks, three running backs and one receiver. Six of the finalists helped lead their teams into the NCAA Division II playoffs this season and Vaughan and Ashlandâ??s Taylor Housewright will be facing each other this weekend as the Buffs travel to Ashland for a NCAA second round game.

Vaughan, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Calallen High School, becomes the third finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy in school history as Dalton Bell finished seventh in 2005 and Grady Benton was fifth in 1994. Vaughan was named Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year and has helped lead the Buffaloes to a 10-2 record entering Saturdayâ??s game. He has thrown for 3,821 yards and 37 touchdowns this season, while completing 64.5 percent of his passes. Vaughan averages 318.4 passing yards per game.

Along with Vaughan and Housewright facing each other as the top two selections in Super Region Four, Henderson Stateâ??s (Ark.) sophomore quarterback Kevin Rodgers and Missouri Western Stateâ??s senior running back Michael Hill also will face each other this weekend in a second round match up in Super Region Three.

The candidates from Super Region Two include senior wide receiver Chris Bowden of Wingate (N.C.) and senior linebacker Derrick Washington of Tuskegee (Ala.). Out of Super Region One, Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg (Pa.) and junior quarterback Zach Zulli of Shippensburg (Pa.) played each other last weekend in the first round as Zulli and the Raiders got the best of Quiteh and Bloomsburg, 58-20. Shippensburg plays at Winston-Salem State (N.C.) this weekend.

National voting will conclude Nov. 29, and the top three finishes will be invited to the Shoals for the presentation banquet.

The winner of the 2012 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced at the 27th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on Friday, December 14 at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. This yearâ??s Hill Trophy Banquet will also include the 14th induction into the Division II Football Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight and can be purchased by calling the Shoals Chamber of Commerce at (256) 764-4661.

The NCAA Division II Championship Game is scheduled for December 15 at Florenceâ??s Braly Municipal Stadium at 12 p.m.