Cliff Harris Award has 70 small-college defensive players as nominees


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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Seventy small-college football players from across the country have been listed as finalists for the 2014 Cliff Harris Award, presented to a player judged as the top defense player in the lower divisions of the NCAA and the NAIA.

Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir won the award last year and in the spring was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.

The Little Rock Touchdown Club, which sponsors the award with the Wright, Lindsey and Jennings law firm, says 10 percent of last year's finalists made NFL rosters this season.

The club and law firm announced the finalists Thursday.

This year's nominees include 38 players from NCAA Division II, 18 from NCAA Division III and 14 players from the NAIA. The winner will be announced Dec. 24.

Cliff Harris was a high school player in Des Arc, Arkansas, who played at Ouachita Baptist before going on to play in five Super Bowls and six Pro Bowls while with the Dallas Cowboys.

The finalists are:

Ryan Aelker, Bluffton

Darius Allen, Colorado State-Pueblo

Steve Ambs, Ursinus

Justin Avery, University of Charleston

LuckyBaar, McKendree

Zach Bell, Millsaps

Devin Benton, Southwestern Oklahoma

Sean Blomquist, Carroll

Tanner Botts, Lenoir-Rhyne

Beau Brewer, Louisiana College

Deron Bruce, Ottawa

Jake Bussani, Wesleyan

George Christas, Lock Haven

Tyre Coleman, Hobart

Tyler Condit, New Haven

Jacob Edleman, Central College

Nores Fradi, Wayne State

LeronFurr, Fort Valley State

Frank Gaffney, Lebanon Valley College

Josh Gordon, Minnesota State-Mankato

Cameron Grad, Menlo College

Brady Grayvold, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Michael Gruber, Brevard College

Nathan Hancock, Minnesota State-Mankato

Connor Harris, Lindenwood

Greg Hayward, Saint Xavier

Ryan Hogan, Trine

Julian Howsare, Clarion

Rory Island, Delta State

Austin Jacques, Johnson C. Smith

Tyler Jenkins, Rowan

Takari Johnson, Concordia

Colin Kimball, Mercyhurst

Alex Kocheff, Mount Union

Jared Koster, New Mexico Highlands

Phil Latimer, Nebraska Wesleyan

MattLongacre, Northwest Missouri

Caushaud Lyons, Tusculum College

Keshaun Malone, Bacone

Derrick Mann, Assumption

Alex Markarian, Humboldt State

Marcus Martin, Slippery Rock

Max Nacewicz, Springfield College

Bryan Narcisse, Worcester State

Jack Nelson, Willamette

Trevor Pesek, Texas A&M-Kingsville

Ty Phillips, Missouri Valley College

Cole Potter, Dakota State University (S.D.)

Nadim Raddar, Bethany

CJRoberts, Colorado State-Pueblo

Brion Robinson, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

Adam Sauder, Taylor

Zac Schlueger, Morningside

Rush Seaver, Angelo State

Al-Hajj Shabazz, West Chester University

Jordan Shaw, Shorter

Justin Shirk, Bloomsburg

GrantSinger, University of Mary

Loronza Smith, Warner

AndrewStewart, Kentucky Christian

Jason Taylor, Catawba

David Ternes, Grinnell

Bryan Thomson, East Stroudsburg

Tyler Thornton, Azusa Pacific

CharlesTuaau, Texas A&M Commerce

Billy Wendt, Graceland

RonellWilliams, West Chester

Gary Yeoman, Saint Joseph's, Indiana

Jacob Zilbar, Wisconsin - Platteville

Justin Zimmer, Ferris State

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