Shippensburg QB Zach Zulli wins Harlon Hill Trophy
Shippensburg quarterback Zach Zulli won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the top player in Division II after a record-setting junior season.
Zulli received the award Friday night on the eve of the national championship game at the University of North Alabama. He set NCAA Division II records by accounting for 336 points and 56 touchdowns, and tied the national record with 54 touchdown passes.
''This is just ridiculous. I never would have expected this,'' said Zulli, who had never flown before the plane trip to Alabama. ''Being here is incredible. Sharing this award with my teammates, it just feels incredible.''
Zulli had 202 points in balloting by Division II sports information directors for a 64-point margin over Missouri Western State running back Michael Hill. Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh was third with 101 points.
Zulli, from Schwenksville, Pa., passed for 4,747 yards and led Shippensburg to an 11-2 record and the second round of the playoffs. He was the offensive player of the year in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division. Quiteh plays in the same league.
Zulli became the seventh underclassman to win in the award's 27-year history and the first since Danny Woodhead of Chadron State in 2006.
Woodhead claimed the Harlon Hill again as a senior, becoming the third multiple winner.
Zulli completed 62.8 percent of his attempts, was intercepted just 10 times and was responsible for an average of 26.5 points per game.
Zulli ranked fourth in Division II in passing yards per game (365.2), third in total offense (382.4) and fifth in passing efficiency with a rating of 165.3.
The toughest part about the trip was flying for the first time. ''It was a little scary at first,'' Zulli said.
He opened by bringing Quiteh and Hill to the podium tell a story of a prank pulled on their host.
Zulli concluded by not just thanking his teammates but running down the roster on both offense and defense and even throwing in some nicknames.
''This team overall won this award,'' he said, ''not just me.''