NCAA Football’s FBS has only had one two-time winner of its highest individual honor, The Heisman Trophy. Division II Football has its own counterpart to the Heisman — The Harlon Hill Trophy — and the Colts just signed one of its only two-time winners to their practice squad.
Tight end Jason Vander Laan won the Harlon Hill in 2014 and 2015 as a quarterback for Ferris State in Michigan, becoming only the fourth DII player to win it twice. He started 46 games, completing 666-of-1,050 passes (63.4%) for 8,240 yards, 85 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also ran 1,010 times for 5,953 yards (5.9 avg) and 81 touchdowns.
Vander Laan is one of the most accomplished dual-threat players in college football history, not just DII. He accrued more rushing yards than any other quarterback in college football history and is second in rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks (most in DII history). He also became the first player to achieve 1,000 yards passing and rushing each in four consecutive seasons.
Vander Laan (6-4, 244, 25) was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent following the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent time on their practice squad during the season, as well as this spring and summer with them before being cut during final preseason roster cuts.
The Colts’ 10-man practice squad is now comprised of the following:
- QB Phillip Walker
- WR Matt Hazel
- WR K.J. Brent
- TE Jason Vander Laan
- TE Mo Alie-Cox
- OL Ian Silberman
- NT Joey Mbu
- OLB Vontarrius Dora
- CB Channing Stribling
- S Ronald Martin