Notre Dame’s Tranquill gets Wuerffel Trophy nod

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Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill plays against Florida State in the second half in South Bend, Ind. Tranquill, who has suffered a broken left hand and high right ankle sprain during Notre Dame’s magical mystery 2018 tour, has remarkably missed just a few plays this season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Northwest Florida Daily News

FORT WALTON BEACH — Welcome to the Wuerffel Trophy family, Drue Tranquill.

The Notre Dame Linebacker was announced Tuesday in New York as the latest recipient of “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” joining a lauded list of philanthropic athletes that includes Tim Tebow, Sam Acho and Matt Barkley.

The announcement came from the man himself, Danny Wuerffel, who led the Fort Walton Beach Vikings to a state title in 1991 and later the University of Florida to a national title in 1996 during a Heisman campaign.

“We are honored to announce that Drue is this year’s recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy and are elated about him joining our family of past winners,” Wuerffel said. “What he has done serving others off the field, along with his work in the classroom and on the playing field, represents the true meaning of the award. Also, I’d like to say the same about our other two finalists, Dalton Risner and David Blough. The community service that these young men have done is just incredible. I wish we could hand out 3 Wuerffel Trophies.”

The Wuerffel Trophy, presented by the Chick-fil-A Foundation, is awarded to the Football Bowl Subdivision player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Tranquill was selected from a “watch list” of 109 players who were whittled down to 12 semifinalists and then three finalists. Voting for the Wuerffel Trophy is performed by a National Selection Committee that includes college football television and print media, industry notables, former head coaches and prior Wuerffel Trophy recipients.

Tranquill, whose Irish are 12-0 and will face Clemson on Dec. 29 in the College Football Playoff, is a three-time Wuerffel Trophy nominee and graduated last December with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has been named to the Dean’s List in five of his eight semesters and is a National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy finalist this season. A two-year team captain for the Fighting Irish, Tranquill volunteers his time locally with Lifeworks Ministry, AWP Sports, Dream Teams, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and the Center for the Homeless and South Bend Boys and Girls Clubs just to name a few. Also, he has served on three mission trips to the Dominican Republic as a team leader with Here for Kids International.

“Drue’s dedication to serving others, especially young people, is a shining example of our Foundation’s mission to help every child become all they can be,” said Rodney Bullard, Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation and Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A®. “We’re proud to have a part in recognizing him for his service and we look forward to seeing how he continues to lead and inspire.”

The presentation of the 2018 Wuerffel Trophy will occur at the 50th Annual All Sports Association Awards Banquet on Feb. 15 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

Past winners of the Wuerffel Trophy include Rudy Niswanger (LSU-2005), Joel Penton (Ohio State-2006), Paul Smith (Tulsa-2007), Tim Tebow (Florida-2008), Tim Hiller (W. Michigan-2009), Sam Acho (Texas-2010), Barrett Jones (Alabama-2011), Matt Barkley (USC-2012), Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma-2013), Deterrian Shackelford (Ole Miss-2014) and Ty Darlington (Oklahoma-2015) and Trevor Knight (Texas A&M-2016).

The Wuerffel Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association, which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 24 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. For more information, go to www.NCFAA.org. For more information on the Wuerffel Trophy, visit www.wuerffeltrophy.org.