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Monday, November 18, 2013

The Project

Minnesota State senior quarterback
Jon Wolf is a regional finalist for the
Harlon Hill Trophy, which goes to
the top NCAA DII football player in
the nation
It was announced last week that Minnesota State senior quarterback Jon Wolf is one of seven players in Super Region 3 under consideration to advance to the Harlon Hill Trophy national ballot. The Harlon Hill Trophy honors the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. 

There are four super regions in NCAA DII and the top two players from each super region, based on voting conducted by sports information directors in each region, advance to the national ballot when regional voting concludes on November 22.  The sports information directors vote again on the eight national finalists with the winner of the 2013 award announced at the 28th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet Friday, December 20.

As one of the top multi-purpose quarterbacks in the nation playing for an undefeated and number-one ranked team in the country, one would think that Wolf would receive a lot of consideration for this award.

The Oak Forest, Ill., native presents an unusual package of size and athleticism.  With 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns along the ground, statistically Wolf is MSU's top rushing threat. And in the Mavericks' 11 games this year he's completed 63.4 percent of his passes with 104 completions on 164 attempts for 15 touchdowns.  Importantly, he's only thrown one interception and his passing efficiency rating stands at 180.4.

His numbers would be even more impressive if it not for MSU claiming several victories by large margins, which has meant he's not calling the signals for entire games. In the recent win over Upper Iowa, for example, the Mavericks held a 49-0 lead at the end of the first half and eventually won 73-7.  Wolf played the first two quarters during which he ran for 201 yards on ten carries and completed five-of-eight passes for 77 yards. The 201 yards are the most ever by a MSU quarterback.

"Jon has truly been a difference maker on a championship contending team," said head coach Aaron Keen. "His ability to lead the team as our quarterback, to throw the ball and run the ball so effectively against defenses designed to stop him has been remarkable. He's quiet but competitive and a perfectionist when it comes to making plays.  It's been special to see him develop.  He's grown up with us and it's been fun to watch."

Including Wolf, a total of seven Minnesota State players have appeared on the regional Harlon Hill ballot.  A pair of them, quarterback Jamie Pass in 1993 and wide receiver Josh Nelsen in 1994, advanced to the national ballot.  Nelsen finished seventh in the final tabulations.   Pass, not unlike Wolf, was a threat to run and throw and ended up third in the final balloting.  At 6-4 and 230 lbs., Wolf is taller and heavier than Pass and he runs a different offense. Pass threw the ball 490 times in '93 for 30 touchdowns and more than 3,700 yards and racked up 4,261 yards in total offense in 13 games as a senior. Wolf is closing in on 3,000 yards in total offense in 11 games with the play-offs looming.

Any way you slice it, Wolf undoubtedly ranks as not only one of MSU's best, but also amongst the best in the nation.

It's great to be a Maverick.

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