It is 1,862 miles from the University of Southern California campus to the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. But Matt Barkley couldn’t have felt more at home in February. It wasn’t that the beach was like he was accustomed to in California. He was with his family from home, and also with his new family that he’s now a part of as a Wuerffel Trophy winner. And Matt was eager to let his feelings be shown.
“It means a lot to be here representing Danny’s name,” said Barkley. “All of the past winners who I look up to, only knowing them for a short time now, they already seem like mentors of mine and they are a family.”
Not only was Matt’s fiance, Brittany Langdon, on hand to experience the presentation, but his parents, Les and Beverly Barkley, and grandparents, George and Marabel Baker, made the 2 time zone, cross country trip as well.
The weekend began for Matt with an intimate family gathering at a local Bed and Breakfast, that family including both the family that came with him, and his new Wuerffel Trophy family. The past Wuerffel Trophy winners, Danny Wuerffel’s family and members of the Wuerffel Trophy committee and the All Sports Association were there to greet and welcome the Barkleys. The next morning, Matt was a part of the All Sports Association’s Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s breakfast where he said a few words to the 1,100 high school and middle school students and their huddle leaders that were in attendance. Later that afternoon, he spoke with the media and signed autographs at the VIP gathering in the Destin harbor. Then it was on to the Emerald Coast Convention Center for the 44th All Sports Association’s Awards Dinner. Danny Wuerffel made the presentation of the 8th Wuerffel Trophy, with Hall of Famers Coach Bobby Bowden and Deion Sanders on stage with Matt, along with the other award recipients.
“It was encouraging to hear that I was honored with this award. I realized that I was being rewarded for something that’s bigger than football. And as much as I love this game and as much passion that I have for this game, I realize that it will one day come to an end, and there is something more everlasting, more eternal, than football.” (For a video clip of Matt Barkley’s entire acceptance speech, click HERE.)
We’re proud to welcome Matt to the Wuerffel Trophy family as the 2012 Wuerffel Trophy Recipient. “Fight on!”