The trophy was presented during a sold-out Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (MSHOF) awards banquet in Jackson, Mississippi, which also featured special remarks from former Southern Miss legend Reggie Collier. The award is named after Charlie Conerly, a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, college All-American, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro who quarterbacked the New York Giants to a world championship.
The other six award nominees from Mississippi's 10 public universities and colleges were Delta State defensive back Junior Faulk, Jackson State linebacker Keonte Hampton, Mississippi Valley State defensive back Tracy Thompkins, Mississippi College quarterback Detric Hawthorn, Millsaps College defensive end Liam Vincifora and Belhaven University quarterback Hunter McEachern.
Southern Miss fifth-year senior left tackle Drake Dorbeck won the 7th annual Entergy Kent Hull Trophy as Mississippi's top college offensive lineman in 2019. Dorbeck is the first Golden Eagle player to receive the award, which is named for the late Kent Hull, a Mississippi State standout and Buffalo Bills pro football star. All six previous award winners play or have played in the NFL.
Hill also won the fan voting portion with 16,776 votes, which counted for 10 percent of the award. Plumlee finished second with 10,539 votes and Harper was third with 6,154 votes. College football fans cast a near record 43,837 votes online during the six day voting period sponsored by C Spire and the MSHOF. A panel of statewide sports media journalists decided the remaining 90 percent of the award.
Previous winners of the C Spire Conerly Trophy include former and current NFL players such as Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, Anthony Dixon, Patrick Willis, Deuce McAllister, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Evan Engram, A. J. Brown and last year's winner, Jeffrey Simmons. Prescott and Manning are the only two-time winners in the award's 24-year history.
Hill also had 17 receptions for 174 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield during the season, including an 88-yard reception against Abilene Christian, the longest catch in the SEC this year and tied for the longest reception by an FBS running back. He finished with eight 100-yard rushing games for Mississippi State, tying the single-season record and is third on the school's all-time rushing list.
I tell my coach, teammates and family that I love and thank them for all of their support, assistance and unconditional love. One of the best decisions I ever made was coming to Mississippi State. I had offers from every school in the country, but I choose to stay here and play for a school 20 minutes down the road, Hill told the audience in accepting the award.
C Spire has sponsored the outstanding player awards program for all major college sports in Mississippi since 1998. We're very pleased with the caliber of players selected as nominees and finalists for the C Spire Conerly Trophy this year, said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire. Our winner is not only a great football player, but an outstanding young man with good character, a leader with a positive attitude and a terrific work ethic.