Colorado Mines quarterback receives Harlon Hill trophy

Colorado School of Mines quarterback Justin Dvorak gives an appreciation speech after winning the Harlon Hill trophy Jan. 6 in the Guillot University Center Banquet Hall. Dvorak is the 31st winner of the award, which honors the best player in the NCAA’s Division II.

by Managing Editor Mike Ezekiel

After a prolific passing career, Colorado School of Mines quarterback Justin Dvorak became the 31st Harlon Hill trophy winner in the Guillot University Center Banquet Hall Jan. 6.

Dvorak, a redshirt senior from Tomball, Texas, officially won the award Dec. 16 in a live streaming of the announcement by the NCAA, which was the same morning he graduated from his school with a degree in petroleum engineering.

“I want to start off by congratulating the other nominees on their outstanding seasons and careers,” Dvorak said. “I know that they’re just as deserving of this award as I am. Although the Harlon Hill trophy is an individual award, I couldn’t have gotten to this podium without the help and support of several others along the way.”

Dvorak officially won the award Dec. 16 in a live streaming of the announcement by the NCAA, which happened to be the same morning he graduated from the school with a degree in petroleum engineering.

Dvorak engineered the Orediggers to a 28-7 record as a starter, including an appearance in the second round of the Division II playoffs. Dvorak also led Division II’s top offense in 2016, averaging 566.8 yards per game and an offense that was second nationally in both points per game (47.5) and passing yards per game (359.8).

The senior led all of D-II with 4,584 passing yards and 61 touchdowns on the season, including 53 passing touchdowns. He was responsible for 366 points, which also led the nation. He received the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and Super Region Four player of the year.

“The quarterback position exemplifies leadership, and you want that out of your quarterback,” said Colorado Mines head coach Gregg Brandon. “He certainly did that, not only as a football player but as a vocal leader. He rallied our kids through adversity and always seemed to make a big play.”

The runners up for the award included the two quarterbacks who squared off in the Division II National Championship, Kyle Zimmerman of Northwest Missouri State and Jacob Tucker of North Alabama.

Dvorak was on 75 of the 95 casted ballots, which were voted on by sports information directors throughout Division II. He received 185 total points, while Zimmerman received 113 and Tucker tallied 84.

Woody Paige, a panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn and a sports columnist for The Gazette called Dvorak “the best college football player in Colorado history you never heard of.”

Now, he is enshrined in the Division II history books.