FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2013
Courtesy of Stonehill Athletics Communications
EASTON, Mass. – Stonehill College junior linebacker Brian Harrington is a finalist for the inaugural Cliff Harris Award, to be presented to the Small College Defensive Player of the Year, it was announced by the Little Rock Touchdown Club and Wright, Lindsey & Jennings, LLP.
Harrington, who has also been named the Joseph P. Zabilski Defensive Player of the Year for Division II/III in New England by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and the D2Football.com Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year this season, is one of 21 finalists from Division II and 49 finalists overall in Divisions II and III as well as NAIA. He is the lone defensive player from the NE-10 among the finalists and one of five from Super Region 1. The winner will be announced on December 24 and honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet in February, featuring guest speaker Lou Holtz. The winner will receive the $3,000 Cliff Harris Award Trophy. Presenting sponsor is the prestigious Wright, Lindsey & Jennings Law Firm. It's named for former Ouachita Baptist University safety Cliff Harris who went on to a professional career with the Dallas Cowboys that included five Super Bowl appearances.
Harrington has earned Daktronics All-Super Region 1 first team, New England Football Writers Division II/III All-New England and All-Northeast-10 first team honors this season. The four-time NE-10 Defensive Player of the Week led the Conference this fall with a league and program record 151 tackles, which leads the Conference, ranks fourth nationally and is currently the 11th-highest single-season total in Division II history. He posted double-figure tackles in ten of Stonehill’s 11 games and had 16 or more stops in six games. Harrington registered a career-high 17 tackles in an overtime win at Assumption College on September 20 and matched in the NE-10 Championship at American International College on November 16. He posted a career-best 11 solo tackles in a win at Southern Connecticut State University on October 12 and matched at AIC in the NE-10 title game.
Harrington leads the NE-10 with his 73 solo tackles (6th nationally) and 78 tackle assists to go with 7.0 tackles for a loss of 30 yards, including 2.5 sacks for a loss of 16, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and pass breakup. He was a leading force for a Stonehill defense which finished the season ranked second in the NE-10 for scoring defense (24.3 ppg), third in passing defense (246.8 yds/gm) and forced a league-high 30 turnovers, including a Conference best 14 fumble recoveries, and finished fourth for sacks (21). His 13.7 tackles per game ranks third nationally.
Harrington earned a starting role on the defensive unit after gaining experience as a member of the Stonehill special teams units as a freshman and sophomore, being named the Skyhawks Special Teams Player of the Year by the coaching staff in 2012. He has played 31 games over his career, starting all 11 this season, and has posted 176 career tackles (87 solo). Of his record 151 tackles this season, 105 came against the run, more than double his next teammate. Harrington has earned NE-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll all four semesters completed at the College and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll two semesters.
Stonehill posted its best season in nearly 20 years this fall as it finished with an 8-3 record overall, including an 8-1 mark in the Northeast-10 to earn a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship. The Skyhawks posted their first winning season since an 8-2 campaign in 1996 and fell a win shy of the single-season program record of nine in 1995. Stonehill finished above .500 in NE-10 play for the second-straight year and third time in head coach Robert Talley’s seven seasons at the helm.
Stonehill appeared among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll for the first time in program history six weeks this fall, including five straight leading up to Saturday’s NE-10 Championship appearance, and was ranked in each of the NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings this fall. Stonehill is also ranked sixth in this week’s ECAC Lambert Meadowlands poll, after being ranked as high as fifth this season.