Dubuque DB wins Cliff Harris Award, given to nation's top small college defensive player

Cliff Harris Award

University of Dubuque defensive back Michael Joseph has been named the winner of this year's Cliff Harris Award.

The award is given annually to the top defender in small-college football and Joseph becomes the first Division III player to win the award.

Joseph led the Iowa Conference with eight interceptions and twice had three interceptions in a game. He also returned his first and only career kickoff return for a 96-yard touchdown.

The award honors Cliff Harris, who went undrafted out of Ouachita Baptist and later played safety in five Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

"I continue each year to be proud of the defensive talent that is being coached and cultivated at small colleges across America," Harris said in a statement. "You are proving each season that the best football isn't just played at the FBS and FCS levels."

To be eligible, a player must be in NCAA divisions II or III or the NAIA. The award is presented by the Little Rock Touchdown Club and the Wright, Lindsey, Jennings law firm.

The $3,000 trophy will be presented by Cliff Harris himself at the Little Rock Touchdown Club's annual awards banquet on January 11. NFL Hall of Fame member Marcus Allen will be the honorary speaker.

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