[Little Rock, Arkansas- December 16, 2023] – The Cliff Harris Award and Little Rock Touchdown Club, in partnership withD3football.com are proud to announce that senior linebacker Owen Grover has been named the recipient of the 2023 NCAA Division III Cliff Harris Award. Grover’s exceptional performance on the field has solidified his place in history as the first-ever Cliff Harris Award winner from Wartburg College.

A Dyersville, Iowa native, Owen Grover has consistently performed at an elite level for Wartburg. This season included an impressive tally of 113 total tackles, four sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for the Knights. His exceptional play and leadership on the field were pivotal in guiding the team to an outstanding season, culminating in a 13-1 record and a second consecutive appearance in the national semifinals. 

Grover’s 2023 accolades also include being named AFCA First-team All-American, his first AFCA honor and third overall All-American honor. He was named Conference Defensive MVP, First Team All-Conference, D3football.com Region 5 Defensive MVP/First-team All-Region, William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist and Academic All-Conference. 

The 2023 Cliff Harris Award Finalists for Division III: 

  • Colin Meropoulos- Endicott College(MA) 
  • Derej Slywka- Ithaca College(NY) 
  • Caleb Harmel- Trinity University(TX) 
  • Rossy Moore- University of Mount Union(OH) 
  • Owen Grover- Wartburg College(IA) 
  • Justin Blazek- University of Wisconsin-Platteville(WI) 

The Cliff Harris Award, recognizing the top small college defensive player in the country in Division II, Division III, and NAIA, expanded the award recognition this season with a $3,000 Trophy for each winner in every division. 

For media inquiries, interviews, or additional information, please contact: 

David Bazzel – President, Little Rock Touchdown Club- info@LRTouchdown.com www.lrtouchdown.com 

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About the Cliff Harris Award: The Cliff Harris Award is an annual recognition program dedicated to celebrating exceptional defensive players in small college football. Named after NFL Hall of Famer Cliff Harris, the award acknowledges players who exhibit excellence on and off the field. 

The Trophy: One of the most unique awards in all of college football, the $3,000 Cliff Harris Award trophy stands almost two foot tall and weighs 35 pounds. A rare two figurine sports action bronze sculpture, the Cliff Harris Award represents an actual tackle by NFL Hall of Fame and Dallas Cowboy great Cliff Harris, against Harold Jackson of the Los Angeles Rams. What makes this trophy truly exceptional is its intricate design, showcasing extreme angles and attachment points that secure the two bronze players to a three-tier walnut wood base, setting it apart from any other trophy in all levels of college football. Crafted from fourteen distinct bronze pieces, its assembly process ranks among the most intricate and complex in sports awards. Every winner from DII, DIII and NAIA will receive their own Cliff Harris Award trophy. Sculpted by Raymond Gibby and designed by David Bazzel, this trophy embodies excellence in both craftsmanship and football achievement. 

Over the last decade, many of the finalists and winners have continued their outstanding football careers in the National Football League. 

  • Pierre Desir (Lindenwood, winner ’13) 
  • Malcom Butler (West Alabama, finalist ’13) 
  • Marqui Christian (Midwestern State, winner ’15) 
  • Matthew Judon (Grand Valley State, finalist ’15) 
  • Michael Joeseph (Dubuque, winner ’17) 
  • Corey Ballentine (Washburn, winner ’18) 
  • Kyle Duggar (Lenoir-Rhyne, winner ’19) 
  • Sam Roberts (Northwest Missouri State, winner ’21) 
  • Caleb Murphy (Ferris State, winner ’22) 

For more information about the Cliff Harris Award and to stay updated on the latest news and developments, please visit https://www.cliffharrisaward.com/.