FORT WALTON BEACH, FL – University at Buffalo senior linebacker Matt Otwinowski has been named to the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, presented by Chick-fil-A Foundation®. Otwinowski is one of 91 players from college football's Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) named to the list.
The Wuerffel Trophy, known as "College Football's Premier Award for Community Service," is presented each February in Fort Walton Beach. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Otwinowki has played in 38 games over his career and has totaled 78 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. He is a two-time Academic All-MAC selection and was named a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. While he has actively volunteered in the community over his career, Otwinowski's greatest act of selflessness occurred in April when he donated his bone marrow to help save the life of a stranger through the Be The Match program.
The SEC led all conferences with 14 players appearing on the 2019 watch list. Following the SEC is the PAC 12 with 12 players, the ACC with 10 and the Mountain West Conference with 10 players each and the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA with 9 players each. The MAC, Big Ten Conference and Big 12 Conference submitted 7 players for consideration, while the American Athletic Conference had 4 players named to the list. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives Notre Dame and BYU with 1 nominee each.
Nominations for the Wuerffel Trophy are made by the respective universities' Sports Information Departments and will close on October 15. A current list of nominees can be found at www.wuerffeltrophy.org beginning on August 1. Semifinalists for the award will be announced on November 5 and finalists will be announced on November 18.
The formal announcement of the 2019 recipient will be made at the National Football Foundation's festivities in New York City on December 10. The presentation of the 2019 Wuerffel Trophy will occur at the 51st All Sports Association Awards Banquet on February 14, 2020 in Fort Walton Beach.
Past winners of the award are: Rudy Niswanger - LSU - 2005; Joel Penton - Ohio State - 2006; Paul Smith - Tulsa - 2008; Tim Tebow - Florida - 2008; Tim Hiller - Western Michigan - 2009; Sam Acho - Texas - 2010; Barrett Jones - Alabama - 2011; Matt Barkley - USC - 2012; Gabe Ikard - Oklahoma - 2013; Deterrian Shackelford - Ole Miss - 2014; Ty Darlington - Oklahoma - 2015; Trevor Knight - Texas A&M - 2016; Courtney Love - Kentucky – 2017; Drue Tranquill – Notre Dame – 2018.
The Wuerffel Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast more than 800 recipients, dating back to 1935. Visit www.ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.
The Wuerffel Trophy is supported by its corporate partners, Chick-fil-A Foundation, Dart Container Corporation/Solo Cup and Herff Jones.
The 2019 season kicks off on August 29 against Robert Morris at UB Stadium. Season tickets are available by contacting the UB ticket office at 1-877-UB-THERE or by clicking here.