Clay Shreve celebrated a birthday on Sunday (Dec. 22).
On Monday (Dec. 23) afternoon, Shreve received a belated present, as Ashland University's senior linebacker was named a finalist for the 2019 Cliff Harris Award presented annually to the nation's top small-college defensive player (NCAA Division II and III, NAIA).
As a senior captain and the Eagles' top defensive leader throughout 2019, Shreve recorded a team-high 96 total tackles (36 solo) and 8½ tackles for loss, while adding a half-sack and a fumble recovery.
Shreve is one of 35 Cliff Harris Award finalists in NCAA Division II, and 95 across the country.
Earlier this offseason, Shreve earned first-team Academic All-America laurels from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), and was named second-team American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches' All-America, first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and CoSIDA Academic All-District. He also was the Eagle football program's 2019 nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team and the National Football Foundation (NFF) William V. Campbell Trophy.
The 2019 winner will be announced on Friday (Dec. 27), and honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club's annual awards banquet on Jan. 9.
The award is named for Cliff Harris, a safety who played at then-NAIA Ouachita Baptist before winning playing in five Super Bowls and six Pro Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.