2019 Cliff Harris Award: Small College Defensive Player of the Year


The Cliff Harris Award is presented to the top defensive player in the country representing Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities.




Kyle Dugger, a 6’2 220 safety from Decatur, Georgia, was selected a 2019 AFCA All-American as well as All-South Athletic Conference both as a safety and return specialist for the second consecutive year.

Even with an abbreviated senior season due to injury, Dugger was still a force as a pass defender and run stopper. His first defensive series of the 2019 season resulted in a 30 yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter vs St Augustine and a 63 yard interception return in the second quarter.

Twice during his collegiate career, Dugger returned two punts in one game for touchdowns including two scores in the first six minutes of his 2019 game vs UVA Wise. He has a total of six career punt returns for touchdowns and holds the school for most return yards.

Dugger has 237 career tackles, 10 interceptions, 36 pass break ups, 6 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks to go along with his six punt return touchdowns.

His Lenoir-Rhyne teamed finished 13-1 and ranked #4 in the nation in 2019, its second highest finish in school history. Dugger will play in the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl game on January 25 in Mobile, Alabama.


The 2019 Cliff Harris Award award winners:

  • Lenoir-Rhyne – DB Kyle Dugger, senior (D II)
  • Redlands (Calif.) – DB Jeff Hector, senior (D III, tie)
  • Lake Forest College – DL Jordan McInerney, senior (D III, tie)
  • Montana Western  – LB Jason Farris, senior (NAIA, tie)
  • Kansas Wesleyan – DL Shaq Bradford, junior (NAIA, tie)


2018 Cliff Harris Award Winner: Corey Ballentine


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