By Lancaster Brown
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Having completed one of the most successful careers in Southern Virginia University football program history, senior linebacker Dakoda Winsor was named a finalist for the inaugural Cliff Harris Award on Thursday morning in Little Rock, Ark.
The Cliff Harris Award will be presented annually to the top small college defensive football player in the country representing almost 500 NCAA Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities. Winsor is one of 49 finalists that were chosen from a pool of 100 nominees.
The West Richland, Wash. native led Southern Virginia in tackles during the 2013 season with 80 (41 solo, 39 assisted), which included 17.5 tackles for loss for a combined loss of 53 yards for opponents. He also earned 3.5 sacks on the year, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two pass breakups and a safety.
During his career, Winsor finished first in career fumble recoveries with seven and ranked No. 2 in assisted tackles (121), pass breakups (14) and tackles (276). Also a kickoff return specialist, he ended his career ranked No. 1 in school history in kick return yards with 2,214.
Nominees and finalists from all three divisions and an overall winner are chosen by head coaches and a select committee of college and pro football greats.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 24 and honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club's annual awards banquet in February 2014 featuring guest speaker Lou Holtz. The winner will receive the $3,000 Cliff Harris Award trophy. The list of all finalists and nominees can be found at cliffharrisaward.com.
Cliff Harris was an overlooked high school player from Des Arc, Ark., who received one scholarship offer to then-NAIA Ouachita Baptist University. He went on to a prolific NFL career in which he helped the Dallas Cowboys earn five Super Bowl titles and was also a member of six Pro Bowl teams.