From staff reports
Brandon Williams, senior defensive tackle at Missouri Southern, has been named the NCAA Division II defensive player of the year by Beyond Sports Network.
Beyond Sports Network is a sports media site that features colleges and players from FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA levels.
Williams, 6-foot-3, 325 pounds, was named defensive player of the year in both the MIAA and Central Region last month. He was the only unanimous selection on the MIAA’s defensive unit.
Williams recorded 68 tackles (31 solo, 37 assists) this season, including 16.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total of minus-58 yards. He also had 8.5 quarterback sacks for minus-39 yards, two pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and one tackle in the end zone for a safety. He ranked second in the league in forced fumbles and third in sacks and tackles for loss.
Williams became Missouri Southern’s career sacks leader with 27.
He received All-America honors after his sophomore and junior years and was a preseason All-American this year. He is listed as one of the top Division II NFL Draft prospects and has been named to the Senior Bowl watch list.
Running back Michael Hill of conference champion Missouri Western is the only other MIAA player on the BSN Division II All-American team.
Hill is a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award — Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — along with quarterback Zack Zulli of Shippensburg and running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg.
Zulli is the BSN offensive player of the year, and kick returner Tyron Laughinghouse of Saint Augustine’s is the special teams player of the year. Zulli leads all divisions of college football with 4,747 yards and 54 touchdowns passing. Laughinghouse leads Division II in kickoff returns (40.1 average) and is ninth in punt returns (15.3). He returned three kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns.