MARTINSBURG, W. Va. (WDVM) – Shepherd quarterback, Tyson Bagent, was presented the 2021 Harlon Hill trophy Friday night at the Martinsburg Roadhouse in front of the Shepherd faithful.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Bagent who was selected as the most valuable player from over 15,000 Division II football players after throwing for 5,000 yards and 53 touchdowns last season, and leading the Rams to the national semifinals.
“I’ve been coming to Shepherd events since I was six years old, and so now, to be named as one of the great players of Shepherd University, I’m just blessed.”
Bagent is the first player from the state of West Virginia and from Shepherd to receive the Harlon Hill, and so it made sense that the presentation of the trophy itself was a first too.
“This is the first time in our history that we are presenting the award in front of teammates, family and fans,” said Will Prewitt, the commissioner of the Great American Conference.
Typically, the award is presented in January, but due to the pandemic, was pushed back, allowing for a special presentation of the award, which also served as a fundraiser for the football program.
“Shepherd University is very underfunded in regards to a national scale so I think [this event] will help propel us into next year,” said Bagent.
Guest speakers, which included Tyson’s pastor and mother Casey, spoke to Bagent’s character and work ethic, while Rams head coach, Ernie McCook, spoke to his servant leadership.
“I have had NFL scouts from multiple teams, other college coaches that ask me about Tyson, and the one thing that I tell them is that he comes from a family of tremendous love for each other,” said McCook.
Casey, Tyson’s mother, gave an emotional tribute to her son, telling the story of a young Tyson who came home from a rough first football practice and vowed to never play again.
“I’ve been in the background just watching him work at his craft,” said Casey Bagent. “For him to get recognized for that award…he deserves it so much. He’s put in so much work for it and it really solidifies all of his accomplishments and we’re just really proud.”
One person who has not been in the background is Tyson’s father, Travis, who almost manifested that his son would win this award.
“I’d like to tell you that I’m surprised, but I kind of knew that he was going to be a bad dude when he was young,” said Travis Bagent. “I knew we were going to win the state championship (Martinsburg). I knew he was going to come to Shepherd. I knew he was going to win the Harlon Hill, and I know he’s going to win the national championship, so we just got one more to do.”