UCO’s Luper named Harlon Hill finalist

Central's J.T. Luper. Photo courtesy UCO Photographic Services.

UCO Sports
Chris Brannick, Director of Sports Media Relations

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of Central Oklahoma football team’s senior wide receiver J.T. Luper Wednesday was named a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given annually to the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year.

“J.T. has had a great season as he’s been able to adjust throughout the year to changing coverages and extra attention that he has received from opposing defenses,” UCO head football coach Nick Bobeck said. “He’s also handled the success with a humble demeanor.”

Luper was named Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Offensive Player of the Year and a unanimous First Team all-conference pick following a standout, record-breaking season on the football field.

The senior wideout from Sherman, Texas set UCO records in receptions (101), yards receiving (1,544), and touchdowns (12). He also led Division II in catches and yards. His 1,544 yards led all of college football – all divisions, all levels.

Luper had six games this season with at least 10 catches, and seven games with at least 100 yards. He had two games with more than 200 yards, and tied another school record with four touchdown catches in one game.

That game, a Week 5 win against Emporia State, Luper hauled in 12 passes for 230 yards and four scores. He had six catches for 93 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Bronchos erased a 15-point deficit with less than five minutes to play and came back to win 53-52.

Luper is the ninth player from Central Oklahoma to be nominated for the award, and joins Joe Aska (1994) as the only other Broncho to be named a finalist for the award.

The finalists were selected by the NCAA Division II sports information directors in regional voting and will now be placed on the national ballot where all 169 of the division’s SIDs will select the award’s 32nd winner.

National voting will conclude on Dec. 9 and the winner of the 2017 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced on Dec. 15. The winner will be honored at a luncheon on the University of North Alabama campus on Jan. 5, 2018.