TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology junior Mike Riley is a finalist for the fifth annual Cliff Harris Award, presented to the nation's top small college defensive player from almost 500 schools in NCAA Division II, Division III and NAIA.
Riley has been chosen one of 29 NCAA Division III Finalists for the single award. The finalist list also includes 30 NCAA Division II players and 23 NAIA players.
An overall winner will be announced on December 23 and honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club's annual awards banquet on Jan. 11. The winner will receive the $3,000 Cliff Harris Award trophy, presented by Cliff Harris. In addition to the overall winner, the top vote getters from each division will be announced.
The 2017 Cliff Harris Award selection committee includes Roger Staubach; Lee Roy Jordan; Walt Garrison; Gene Stallings; Everson Walls; Charlie Waters; Bill Bates; Gil Brandt; Mel Renfro; Jim Hart; Cornell Green; and Cliff Harris.
Riley was selected to the 2017 Associated Press Little All-America Division III football team on Dec. 14. He was one of just four defensive linemen chosen to the first-team All-America squad.
Riley completed the 2017 regular season as the NCAA all-divisions leader in sacks (17) and sacks per game (1.7) to set a new Rose-Hulman single-season record.
The software engineering major tallied totals of 53 tackles, 20 tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, in addition to his 17 sacks. His career totals include 86 tackles, 21.5 sacks and 28 tackles-for-loss. He was also chosen as an honorable mention All-American on the D3football.com national team released Dec. 15.
Riley has also been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Most Valuable Player and was a second-team D3football.com all-North Region selection this season.
Rose-Hulman finished 8-2 under the leadership of head coach Jeff Sokol, who improved his career record to 48-23 in seven years at Rose-Hulman. The Fightin' Engineers were 7-1 in league play to earn outright league runner-up honors. Rose-Hulman opens the 2018 season at perennial power Mount Union on Sept. 1.