Harlon Hill finalist Vander Laan leads AP Little All-America
Harlon Hill Trophy finalists Jason Vander Laan of Ferris State and Anthony Bilal of Lake Erie highlight The Associated Press Little All-America team, honoring the top players in Divisions II and III and NAIA.
Vander Laan is responsible for 50 touchdowns (30 TD passes and 20 touchdowns rushing) and led Ferris State to the Great Lakes Athletic Conference championship.
Bilal is second in Division II in rushing with 190.1 yards per game and tied for the national lead with 29 rushing touchdowns.
The Harlon Hill Trophy, which goes to the top player in Division II, will be presented Friday. Vande Laan and Bilal are among nine finalists.
Defensive lineman Darius Allen and defensive back C.J. Roberts from Colorado State-Pueblo also earned first-team Little All-America honors. Colorado State-Pueblo will face unbeaten Minnesota State-Mankato in the Division II championship game on Saturday.
Linebacker Tyler Henderson is Minnesota State-Mankato's lone representative on the Little All-America team.
Things to know about the Little All-America team.
Allen, a senior, is one three players to repeat as first-team Little All-America selections this season. Fellow defensive lineman Matt Longacre, a junior from Northwest Missouri State, also is a Little All-American for the second straight season.
On the other side of the ball, offensive lineman Cole Manhart of Nebraska-Kearney is the only two-time Little All-American.
Defensive back Brady Grayvold of Wisconsin-Whitewater was selected to the Little All-America team, representing the defending Division III champions.
Wisconsin-Whitewater has won four of the last five D-III championships and plays Mount Union, again, on Friday for another title.
Mount Union's Kevin Burke is the second-team quarterback on the Little All-America team.
Whitewater and Mount Union meet for the Division III title for the eighth time in nine seasons.