ANGOLA, IND. -- Trine University junior defensive back Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) has been named as a finalist for the 2017 Cliff Harris Award.
The Cliff Harris Award is presented to the top defensive player in the country representing Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities.
Winters has already earned second-team All-American honors by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) this season as well as All-Region, first-team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors and was the 2017 MIAA Defensive Player of the Year.
Winters helped lead a Trine defense that was not only one of the top in the MIAA, but also in all of NCAA Division III as the Thunder led the nation in total turnovers with 37 (23 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries), finished third in turnover margin (1.50) and ranked 55th in total defense (315.3 yards allowed per game). Trine's 23 total INTs ranked in a tie for sixth nationally with Winters recording six INTs alone.
For the season, Winters made 26 tackles (20 solo and six assists), including a half tackle for loss, in addition to a forced fumble. In addition to his role on defense, Winters was also the team's leading punt returner who averaged 16.8 yards per return for 218 yards and one return for a TD.
The Thunder finished the regular season 10-0 (11-1 overall) and were the MIAA Champions. It marked the third time in program history that Trine posted an undefeated regular season (2017, 2010, 2008) and fourth MIAAChampionship (2008, 2009, 2010, 2017).