Record-setting Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced Wednesday.
Harnish, who has led NIU to an 8-3 record and is the top dual threat quarterback in the nation this year, is a member of a select group in contention for the fourth-oldest college football award in the nation. The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award is voted on by the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors.
A list of five finalists for the award will be announced Wednesday, Nov. 30.
In being named to the semifinalist list, Harnish joins a field of nine quarterbacks, two running backs, two wide receivers and two defensive players. The other quarterbacks named were USC’s Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin III of Baylor, Landry Jones of Oklahoma, Houston’s Case Keenum, Andrew Luck of Stanford, Kellen Moore of Boise State, Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson.
“I am very proud to represent the team and the university and to be on the list of those elite players,” Harnish said, less than a day after breaking the NIU school record for single game total offense yards in the Huskies’ 41-38 win over Ball State Tuesday night. “Early in my career I didn’t think I’d be where I am today, and I’ve only gotten there because of the help of my teammates and great coaches along the way.”
In 2011, Harnish has already broken his own school record for total offense yards in a season with career highs in both passing (2,594) and rushing (1,203) yards. He has completed 194-of-303 passes (64 percent) with 22 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He leads every quarterback in the country in rushing yards and is ranked second in the MAC with an average of 109.4 yards per game and 7.8 yards per rush, and has 10 rushing touchdowns on the year. He has five 100-yard rushing games in 2011 and has run for 465 yards (a 155-yard average) and passed for 897 (299 per game) in the Huskies’ last three games. His total offense average of 345.2 yards per game ranks sixth in the country.
Harnish currently owns 17 NIU passing and total offense records and is 19-5 as the Huskies’ starting quarterback over the last two seasons. He was selected as one of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete recipients for 2011 and is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy which considers his work on the field, in the classroom and as a leader.
“Chandler’s body of work both on and off the field makes him a very deserving candidate for this honor,” said NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren. “He is the ultimate competitor and a role model among college football players. I am very happy and proud of him that he has the opportunity to be a Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist.”
Harnish and his fellow Huskie seniors will play the final home game of their Northern Illinois careers’ next Friday, Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. versus Eastern Michigan. The game will be televised on ESPNU. With a victory, the Huskies will clinch a second consecutive trip to the Mid-American Conference Championship game Dec. 2 at Detroit’s Ford Field.
Tickets for the NIU-Eastern Michigan game are on sale now through all Ticketmaster outlets, at the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center and online at www.NIUHuskies.com.