The Cliff Harris Award is presented to the top defensive player in the country representing Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities.



The Little Rock Touchdown Club and Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP announced the nominees for the 3rd annual CLIFF HARRIS AWARD. This award is presented to the nation’s top small college defensive player representing more than 5,000 defensive players from almost 500 NCAA Division II, Division III and NAIA colleges and universities. A prestigious selection committee made up of former college and pro football greats will select the winner. In addition to the CLIFF HARRIS AWARD overall winner, the top vote getter from each division will also be announced.

Finalists for the award will be released in two weeks and the CLIFF HARRIS AWARD winner will be announced on Dec. 24 and honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet in February 2016. The winner will receive the $3,000 CLIFF HARRIS AWARD trophy presented by Cliff Harris. The inaugural winner of the award in 2013 was Lindenwood University cornerback Pierre Desir now with the Cleveland Browns. The 2014 winner was Darius Allen of Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Read more here about Cliff’s amazing journey from an overlooked high school player from tiny Des Arc, AR, and one scholarship offer to then NAIA Ouachita Baptist University to five Super Bowls and six Pro Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.


 Player NamePositionClassCollegeDivision
RyanAelkerDLSrBluffton UniversityDIII
AliAqelDLSrUniversity of St.Francis (IL)NAIA
SteveBarrosoLBSrAlbright CollegeDIII
ConnerBaysSJrSouthwestern Oklahoma State UniversityDII
ChrisBeaulaurierLBSrUniversity of Puget SoundDIII
VincentBeltranoCBSrUniversity of ChicagoDIII
JacobBernhardLBSrWestern State Colorado UniversityDII
CollinBevinsDEJrNorthwest Missouri StateDII
MichaelBloomfieldDESrWinston-Salem State UniversityDII
BradyBonteCBSrDakota Wesleyan UniversityNAIA
GarrettBorcherLBSrDoane CollegeNAIA
JordanBowmanDBJrCalifornia University of PennsylvaniaDII
D'VonnBrownDLJrSouthwestern Assemblies of God UniversityNAIA
NateBryanDTSrFranklin CollegeDIII
ErickBulterDESrThomas more CollegeDIII
KyleBurchettLBJrHiram CollegeDIII
BradenBushDBJrMcPherson CollegeNAIA
TerryCalagonLBSrAlma CollegeDIV III
ClaytonCallicuttDESrAngelo StateDII
MylesCarelockCBSrCentral Washington UniversityDII
MarquiChristianSSrMidwestern State UniversityDII
AndrewCohenDLDrWest ChesterDIV II
TylerConditLBSrUniversity of New HavenDII
AaronCooperLBJrKentucky Christian UniversityNAIA
AdamaDansdillLBSrWheatonDIV III
DylanDelkDESrTabor CollegeNAIA
JasonDisneyLBJrHoward Payne UniversityDII
DylanDonahueDEJrUniversity of West GeorgiaDII
DarrenDungeeLBSrRowan UniversityDIII
JavierDyerDLSoReinhardt UniversityNAIA
MorganFoxDESrColorado St-PuebloDIV II
LoganGenzLBSrArkansas TechDIV II
JoshuaGordonDESrMinnesota State University, MankatoDII
EmmanuelGravesDESrColorado School of MinesDII
ConnorHarrisLBJrLindenwood UniversityDII
JoshHarrisDBJrGeorgetown CollegeNAIA
TylerHendersonLBSrMinnesota StateDIV II
SidneyHenryCBSrHampden-Sydney CollegeDIII
JordanHerdmanLBJrSimon FraserDIV II
NickHolshoeDBJrConcordia UniversityNAIA
AustinJacquesLBSrJohnson C. Smith UniversityDII
MichaelJamesSJrAlderson Broaddus UniversityDII
ShanielJenkinsDLSrShepardDIV II
NathanJerniganLBJrCumberland UniversityNAIA
BrandonJonesDLDrWidner UniversityDIV III
MichaelJordanCBSrMissouri Western State UniversityDII
BrianKhouryDEJrCarnegie Mellon UniversityDIII
KyleKitchensOLBSoCatawba CollegeDII
TykeKozealILBJrUniversity of Nebraska at KearneyDII
BenKullosLBSrDakota State (S.D.)NAIA
TomLallyDLsrMount UnionDIV III
ZachLanningDLJrOttawa UniversityNAIA
FrankLaterzaDBSrSt. NorbertDIV III
ElijahLavalais-HawkinsLBSoPeru State CollegeNAIA
RyneLewisDESrHardin-Simmons UniversityDIII
RyneLewisDESrHardin-Simmons UniversityDIII
Tre'vonLightfootCBJrEmory & HenryDIII
MarcusMartinDESoSlippery Rock UniversityDII
RyanMartinLBJrHanover CollegeDIII
BradMcCurdySSrOhio Dominican UniversityDII
KodieMcNamaraLBSrGettysburg CollegeDIII
AustinMillerLBSoUniversity of Central MissouriDII
NateMooreDBJrCollege of IdahoNAIA
MaxNacewiczLBSrSpringfield CollegeDIII
JordanNorrisCBJrNorthwestern Oklahoma State UniversityDII
AnthonyPillaDESrRensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)DII
CurtisPumphreydbSrBowie State UniversityDII
NadimRaddarDESrBethany CollegeDIII
JewellRatliffLBSrTuskegee UniversityDII
AndreReyesLBSrBriar Cliff UniversityNAIA
DustinRivasCBSoColorado MesaDII
JoeRizzardiSSSrUS Coast Guard AcademyDIII
JJSandersDLSrFlorida TechDIV II
AdamSauderSSrTaylor UniversityNAIA
ZacSchleuderLBSrMorningside CollegeNAIA
ZacSchleugerLBSrMorningside CollegeNAIA
TaronSeaforth-HowardDBSrFitchburg State UniversityDIII
JordanShawSSrShorter UniversityDII
TeidrickSmithDEJrUniversity of Mary Hardin-BaylorDIII
TimSmithDEJrUniversity of St FrancisNAIA
BlaineSnitkerLBSrUniversity of DubuqueDIV III
SolomonSt. PierreCBSrUniversity of Sioux FallsDII
IsaiahSwopesCBFrBelhaven UniversityDIII
CalebTaylorLBSrFaulkner UniversityNAIA
AustinTennesseeCBJrStevenson UniversityDIII
PrestonTescherSSrUniversity of MaryDII
CarlosThomasDBSoJohnson C. Smith UniversityDIV II
JonathanThropayLBJrAzusa Pacific UniversityDII
SamVan GinkelDEJrNorthwestern CollegeNAIA
BryantWadeLBSrHusson UniversityDIV III
AlexWahlLBSrUpper Iowa UniversityDII
D'GaryWallaceLBSrUrbana UniversityDII
RenoWardDLJrMontana WesternNAIA
AnthonyWhiteDBSrHuntington CollegeDIV III
RaheemWilsonCBJrSoutheastern Oklahoma StateDII
JoelWimbleyLBSrSaint Joseph's CollegeDII
NickWoodmanDESrUtica CollegeDIII
MikeZandersSJrGannon UniversityDII
JustinZimmerDTSrFerris State UniversityDII

Cliff Harris Award Selection Committee represents:

  • 45 Super Bowl appearances
  • 54 Pro Bowl appearances
  • 39 All-Pro selections
  • 4 inductees of the NFL Hall of Fame
  • 3 inductees of the College Football Hall of Fame
  • 6 Members of the Cowboys Ring of Honor
  • Heisman Trophy Winner & Super Bowl MVP
  • College National Championship

Cliff Harris Selection Committee

  • Roger Staubach
  • Lee Roy Jordan
  • Walt Garrison
  • Gene Stallings
  • Jackie Smith
  • Drew Pearson
  • Rayfield Wright
  • Everson Walls
  • Charlie Waters
  • Bill Bates
  • Gil Brandt
  • Mel Renfro
  • Jim Hart
  • Cliff Harris

5 Time Super Bowl Safety & 6 Time Pro Bowler Cliff Harris on the Cliff Harris Award

harris-action-3"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to recognize the most outstanding defensive players from small colleges across the country. As a small college player myself, I always understood that recognition and respect for outstanding play was more difficult to attain compared to players from larger schools. Because of this I relied on perserverance and mental toughness to help me play my best even when it wasn't recognized. This enabled me to succeed at every level including the NFL and five Super Bowls. I'm honored that this award looks to recognize those players that may not receive the acknowledgement and accolades deserved because they represent small colleges. My hope is that the award will provide these players with added confidence and the appropriate distinction of being one of the best defensive players in the country regardless of the level of football they play."

"I'm proud to represent youth, high school and small college football in Arkansas and have tremendous memories of my time spent in Hot Springs, Des Arc and at Ouachita Baptist University. I'm also extremely proud of my time spent with the Dallas Cowboys and to have such an amazing selection committee representing some of the greatest players and coaches in the history of the game. I want to thank the Little Rock Touchdown Club, my friends and family and the people of Arkansas for their support in honoring through this award, the best defensive players from small colleges across the nation."