FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — University of Kentucky punter/kicker Tim Masthay is one of 13 finalists for the 2008 Wuerffel Trophy, a national award that honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.
The award is presented by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach Fla. It is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 national championship, played six years in the National Football League and has received national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans.
"We at the All Sports Association are excited and proud of this year's finalist class,” commented All Sports President Mike Coupe’. “The process of narrowing the field was a difficult one, as the pool of nominations was outstanding. The submissions clearly revealed the fact that these are not only great athletes and students, but they are also great young men. We are honored to recognize them and how they help reflect upon what is really good in college football."
The finalists, who were nominated by their schools’ sports information directors or football liaisons are (listed alphabetically by university):
The finalists are:
— Tim Tebow, junior quarterback, Florida
— Austin Starr, senior place kicker, Indiana
— Mike Rivera, senior linebacker, Kansas
— Tim Masthay, senior kicker/special teams, Kentucky
— Quin Harris, senior linebacker, Louisiana Tech
— Chase Daniel, senior quarterback, Missouri
— Todd Peterson, senior wide receiver, Nebraska
— Justin Paysinger, senior center, San Jose State
— Graham Harrell, senior quarterback, Texas Tech
— Will Chambliss, senior offensive lineman, Troy
— Travis Dekker, senior tight end, USAF Academy
— Louie Sakoda, senior punter/place kicker, Utah
— Tim Hiller, junior quarterback, Western Michigan
Masthay is extremely active in community service, having been named to the national Good Works Team earlier this season by the American Football Coaches Association. On the field, Masthay currently ranks third in the nation in punting. An all-around student-athlete, he earned Academic All-America honors in 2007. Following his football career, he plans to join the Peace Corps and serve in Africa.
A committee that includes the Wuerffel Trophy national directors and selection committee members will vote on the finalists later this month, and the winner will be formally announced on December 9. This marks the third time in the four-year history of the award that UK has had a finalist. Antoine Huffman (2005) and Jacob Tamme (2007) also were finalists.
“As I look at this incredible list of finalists, I’m filled with a new sense of hope for the future,” said Danny Wuerffel. “These young men truly embody the leadership skills, talents and character that will make a difference in our world. The hardest part now will be for the committee to try to select a winner…all of them really deserve it!”
The 2008 Wuerffel Trophy will be presented to the winner at the All Sports Association’s 40th Annual Awards Banquet on February 20, 2009.