Blue Dragon’s Torrence wins NJCAA Defensive POY
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (Hutchinson CC Sports Information) - Hutchinson Community College defensive back Roterius Torrence capped off his Blue Dragon football career by winning a national championship on June 5.
The sophomore cornerback from Bessemer, Alabama, added one more accolade for his play this season as the NJCAA named Torrence as the 2020-21 National Defensive Player of the Year.
Torrence is the second Blue Dragon to win a National Player of the Year Award for football – joining Eugene Kinlaw, who was the 2008 NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound cornerback is the second Blue Dragon athlete this season to earn a National Player of the Year honor, joining golfer Ben Partridge, who was named the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year on June 6. Torrence is the eighth Blue Dragon to earn a National Player of the Year award in their respective sport – Kinlaw (2008 football); Partridge (2021 men’s golf); Kadeem Allen (2014 men’s basketball); Kyle Simonds (2014 baseball-pitcher); Sarah Rothe (2014 softball-catcher); Shakur Juiston (2017 men’s basketball); and Michael Helman (2017-baseball).
The Auburn University commit helped produce a defense that ranked No. 3 in scoring defense and No. 7 in total defense in the nation this season and helped the No. 1-ranked Blue Dragons defeat No. 2 Snow College 29-27 in the NJCAA Championship Game on June 5 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Torrence had a huge second-quarter interception in the championship game when the Blue Dragons were trailing 14-3. For the game, Torrence had three total tackles and the interception in the championship contest.
Already this season, Torrence was named first-team all-Jayhawk Conference, first-team NJCAA All-American and the 2020-21 Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Torrence didn’t post the huge overall numbers one might associate with this honor. His numbers simply don’t tell the entire story of Torrence’s tremendous sophomore season, but they do speak volumes to the respect opposing teams gave him throughout the 2020-21 season.
Torrence had 26 total tackles in eight games started this season. Torrence broke up five passes with one interception During the regular season, Torrence was hardly targeted over the final five games of the regular season, thus cutting the field in half for opposing offenses.
“Ro plays extremely physical at the line of scrimmage in press coverage and fits very well in coverage on the down-field throws,” Blue Dragon head coach Drew Dallas said. “His presence on the field was instrumental in our success as a defensive unit. Nearly every week, Ro was able to eliminate the opposing teams best offensive threat at the wide receiver position.”
Torrence had a season-high eight tackles in a 41-10 victory over Butler on April 3. He had a big game with five tackles and three passes broken up in No. 1 Hutchinson’s 23-7 win over No. 3 Garden City on April 25. He followed that performance with a four-tackle game against No. 7 Independence in a 42-24 victory on May 2.
Torrence helped the Blue Dragons secure their eighth Jayhawk Conference championship, third undefeated season (1947, 1969) in going 8-0 and first national football championship in the program’s 89-year history.
“This is a tremendous individual honor for him and I am extremely proud of Ro’s progression and development at the cornerback position because of how hard he works and his professional approach to the game,” Dallas said.
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