---- — By The Daily Item
FLORENCE, Ala. -- Bloomsburg University tailback Franklyn Quiteh has won just about every award there is to win in the world of Division II college football and now the junior has his sights set on the biggest.
Quiteh, who has already rushed for more than 5,000 career yards for the Huskies, is one of the top three vote getters for the 2012 Harlon Hill Award, given to the nation's top Division II football player. As one of the top three out of eight finalists, Quiteh will attend the annual trophy presentation on Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala., the night before the national title game. Quiteh will be joined by Shippensburg quarterback Zach Zulli and Missouri Western running back Michael Hill at the presentation. Candidates were nominated by the sports information directors and those nominations were then reviewed by the Hill Regional Advisory Committees, which trimmed the list of candidates. Out of the group of eight finalists, the top three vote getters were invited to Florence.
Quiteh, sixth in the Harlon Hill voting as a freshman in 2010, is the sixth different Huskie to be a finalist. He is trying to join former Bloomsburg All-American Irv Sigler as the program's only winner after Sigler won in 1997.
Quiteh led Division II in rushing this season, for the second time in three years, with an average of 176.8 yards per game. He carried the ball 287 times for 2,121 yards and 24. Quiteh rushed for more than 100 yards in every game this year and has a current streak of 17 straight games with 100 yards or more. He rushed for more than 200 yards four times in 2012 and his career numbers stand at 5,328 yards rushing with 58 touchdowns. A first-team All-PSAC selection for the third straight year, Quiteh led Bloomsburg to a 10-2 record this fall and into the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Quiteh is Bloomsburg's third finalist to make the final three in the voting joining Sigler in 1997 and Jamar Britingham in 2005, who finished third.
In 2010 Quiteh became the first freshman to make the final eight on his way to a sixth-place finish.
Other top eight finishers for the Huskies were Jay DeDea (5th in 1987) and Brittingham (6th in 2007).
Zulli and Quiteh have a chance to give the PSAC its third Harlon Hill winner. Sigler won it in 1997 and East Stroudsburg quarterback Jimmy Terwilliger won in 2005. Twenty-three of 25 all-time winners have been either quarterbacks or running backs.
Zulli was the 2012 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Year and led Shippensburg to an 11-2 record, including a pair of wins over Bloomsburg, and into the second round of the NCAA playoffs.
Zulli tied a Division II record with 54 touchdown passes, throwing for 4,747 yards while completing 62.8 percent of his passes and throwing just 10 interceptions in 544 attempts.
Hill was the 2012 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Offensive Player of the Year after leading Missouri Western to a 12-1 record, an MIAA championship and into the quarterfinal of the Division II playoffs where the Griffins face Minnesota State-Mankato Saturday.
Hill has carried the ball 282 times this season for 2,065 yards and 16 touchdowns.