FLORENCE, Ala. - Southwest Minnesota State University junior running back Tyler Tonderum has been selected as one of nine national finalists for the Harlon Hill Award, which is given annually to the top player in Division II football.
The announcement was made Monday morning by the Harlon Hill national committee.
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 168 of the division's SIDs will select the award's 28th winner.
The top two players from each of Division II's Super Regions advanced to the national ballot, with the exception of Super Region 3 where three players advanced due to a tie in the voting. The list of 2013 finalists is comprised of five quarterbacks and four running backs.
Two weeks ago, Tonderum, a 5-foot-10, 191-pound junior from Armstrong, Iowa, became the first SMSU player in program history to be named a Harlon Hill regional finalist.
Tonderum enters this week ranked second in Division II and fourth in all of NCAA football with 1,979 yards rushing on 315 attempts with 18 touchdowns. He has also caught 32 passes for 274 yards and one touchdown.
In this week's Division II statistics, Tonderum ranks second in rushing yards, third in all-purpose yards (209.3), 11th in rushing touchdowns and 14th in scoring (10.4).
Tonderum has rushed for more than 100 yards in nine of 11 games and has rushed for more than 200 yards four times, including a school record 343 yards in a victory on Sept. 14. The 343-yard game is the highest among all Division II, FBS or FCS teams this season. He set the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference single-season rushing record and has also set seven school single-season records and two single-game school records.
Tonderum has helped SMSU to a 7-4 record and the team's first postseason appearance since 1990. SMSU's seven victories is the highest since moving to Division II in 1995 and is tied for the third highest single-season win total in the program's 46-year history.
SMSU secured just the ninth winning season in history and finished fourth place in the 16-team NSIC. The Mustangs conclude the season on Dec. 7 at the 48th Mineral Water Bowl versus nationally ranked Pittsburg State (Kan.) in Excelsior Springs, Mo.
Six of the finalists helped lead their teams into the 2013 NCAA Division II playoffs this season and five of this weekend's second round playoff matchups will have Hill finalists competing. Three of this year's finalists were also finalists in 2012.
Advancing from Super Region 1 are senior running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg University (Pa.) and senior running back Rondell White of West Chester University (Pa.). Their respective teams will square off in a second round playoff game Saturday. Quiteh finished third in the 2012 Hill Trophy voting.
Super Region 2 is represented by senior quarterback Luke Charles of the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and senior quarterback Bo Cordell of Tusculum University (Tenn.). Charles will lead his 9-1 Braves into a second round playoff matchup Saturday.
The top vote getters in Super Region 3 are junior quarterback Kevin Rodgers of Henderson State University (Ark.), junior running back Tyler Tonderum of Southwest Minnesota State University and senior quarterback Jon Wolf of Minnesota State University. Wolf will lead the Mavericks into a second round playoff game Saturday and Rodgers finished sixth in the voting in 2012.
Advancing from Super Region 4 are senior running back Glen Clinton of Chadron State College (Neb.) and senior quarterback Dustin Vaughan of West Texas A&M University. Vaughn has led West Texas A&M to the second round of the Division II playoffs and finished fourth in the voting in 2012.
For more information on the award go to HarlonHill.com.