Limestone Running Back Tre Stewart Debuts On Watch List For Prestigious Harlon Hill Trophy

Charles Wyatt
Tre Stewart

Not only is Limestone University tailback Tre Stewart running into the Saints’ record book, but he’s also garnering attention on the national scene as one of the top NCAA Division II players in the country.

Stewart has been added to the Harlon Hill Hopefuls list this week after rushing for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ 34-28 victory over Barton on Saturday that improved Limestone’s overall record to 7-3. On the season, Stewart has 160 carries for 1,341 yards to rank seventh in the nation. What makes that feat even more impressive is that Stewart has 97 fewer carries than the top yardage gaining back in the nation. His 8.4 yards per carry average ranks second in the country and first in the South Atlantic Conference. Stewart’s 149-yard per game average places him fifth in the country and second in the SAC.

Every December, the NCAA Division II national player of the year is awarded the Harlon Hill Trophy. Considered the Heisman Trophy of Division II football, the award has an illustrious history dating back to 1986. The award is named for former University of North Alabama and National Football League player Harlon Hill.

Stewart, a sophomore out of Winston-Salem, debuted in this week’s Harlon Hill Hopefuls list compiled by Wayne Cavadi of the website. He was one of 19 to make Cavadi’s list that includes eight running backs, eight quarterbacks, and three wide receivers.

“I truly believe we have the best running back in the nation,” said Limestone head coach Mike Furrey. “Tre is enjoying a tremendously successful season and the numbers speak for themselves. He’s very deserving to be considered a serious candidate for the Harlon Hill Trophy. I cannot say enough about how hard he works to be his very best every Saturday and every day at practice. His success can also be attributed to the outstanding performances by our offensive linemen week after week.”

Official nominations for the Harlon Hill Trophy are made by sports information directors from the schools that participate in NCAA Division II football. The field is eventually narrowed down by four regional committees to the final 24 candidates for the award who are then voted on by the sports information directors. The top two players selected from each region are deemed the finalists and placed on the national ballot.

The national ballot is open to all of the sports information directors, who vote for first, second, and third place amongst the eight finalists. The top three finishers are then invited to the awards presentation held during the Division II Championship weekend.

Stewart’s 14 rushing touchdowns ranks 10th in the nation. Including his 220 receiving yards, Stewart’s 173.3 average in all-purpose yards ranks third in the country and first in the South Atlantic Conference. He has three receiving touchdowns this season. Against UVA-Wise in Limestone’s 2022 home opener, Stewart shattered the Saints’ single-game rushing record with 320 yards on just 21 carries and he scored three touchdowns. He now has six games of 120 yards or more rushing.

A National Offensive Player of the Week earlier this year, Stewart has a season-long run of 82 yards, with three carries of over 70 yards, five runs over 50 yards, and 13 attempts of over 20 yards. He has also been named South Athletic Conference Player of the Week multiple times.

More Limestone records could fall – and Stewart might attract even more national attention – with one more regular season game to play. The Saints host Emory & Henry College on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 12 noon.

Stewart’s high school career was played at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is majoring in Psychology at Limestone. He earned all-state and all-conference honors during his senior season at Winston-Salem Prep, registering 3,538 total yards and 46 touchdowns in his final season. His missed his entire junior year in high school due to an injury.