Clark candidate for D-II’s Top Player

FLORENCE, Ala. — Central Oklahoma wide receiver Marquez Clark has been named one of 28 candidates for the 2013 Harlon Hill Trophy that goes to the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year.

Clark, who redshirted at UCO last year following an All-America career at Navarro College, is having a record-setting season with the Bronchos as a receiver/returner.

The junior from Texarkana, Texas has set a single-season school record for all-purpose yards with 2,031 and ranks among the national leaders in punt returns, all-purpose yards, receiving yards and receptions.

Clark has caught 69 passes for 1,192 yards and five touchdowns, ranking second in receiving yards per game (132.4) and 13th in receptions per game (7.7) in Division II.  He’s returned 15 punts for 319 yards and two TDs for a 21.3 average that is second-best in the country while having also returned 21 kickoffs for 477 yards (22.7 average) and rushed five times for 43 yards.

Clark has 100-plus receiving yards in seven of UCO’s nine games and caught a school-record 13 passes for 236 yards against Emporia State early this season.  He’s had three of the top-10 all-purpose games in school history — second (365 yards vs. Emporia State), third (338 vs. Missouri Western) and sixth (284 vs. Lincoln).

Sports information directors at the 168 Division II football-playing institutions nominate players for the Harlon Hill Trophy and those nominations are then reviewed by the Hill Regional Advisory Committees, which trims the list of candidates to seven in each of Division II’s four regions.

The top two players from each region advance to the national ballot when regional voting concludes Nov. 22.

Joining Clark on the Super Region Three ballot will be Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown, St. Cloud State quarterback Phillip Klaphake, Henderson State quarterback Kevin Rodgers, Upper Iowa running back Chris Smith, Southwest Minnesota running back Tyler Tonderum and Minnesota State-Mankato quarterback Jon Wolf.

The winner of the 2013 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced at the 28th Annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet Dec. 20 at the Florence Conference Center.

Clark is the eighth UCO player to be nominated for the Harlon Hill Trophy, joining running back Tyrone Jones (1993), running back Joe Aska (1994), running back Reggie Donner (1998), wide receiver Dee Dee Carter (2001), running back Jarrod Manoy (2003), quarterback Justin Allgood (2004) and running back Joshua Birmingham  (2010).  Aska was a finalist in 1994, finishing third.