2021 Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalists Announced

12 Players Named Semifinalists for College Football’s Top Community Service Award


FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – November 3, 2021 – The Wuerffel Trophy announced today its 12 semifinalists for the 2021 award.

The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented annually to the Football Bowl Subdivision player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from the University of Florida, Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy exists to honor college football players who serve others, celebrate their positive impact on society, and inspire greater service in the world. The award has honored over 1,400 nominees since its inception in 2005.

“Once again, I’m amazed by the quality of the student athletes who impact and influence others in their communities,” said Danny Wuerffel. “We are so excited for these young men who represent the best in serving others and inspiring others to follow their lead.  Congratulations to the 2021 Wuerffel Trophy semifinalists.”

The 2021 Wuerffel Trophy semifinalists are listed alphabetically by university:

  • Kekaula Kaniho, Boise State University, senior, defensive back
  • James Empey, Brigham Young University, junior, offensive line
  • Austin Williams, Mississippi State University, senior, wide receiver
  • Sean Clifford, Pennsylvania State University, senior, quarterback
  • Isaiah Sanders, Stanford University, senior, quarterback
  • Elijah Hicks, University of California, senior, defensive back
  • Nakobe Dean, University of Georgia, junior, linebacker
  • Mac Brown, University of Mississippi, senior, punter
  • Patrick Fields, University of Oklahoma, senior, defensive back
  • Mo Hasan, University of Southern California, senior, quarterback
  • Brock Hoffman, Virginia Tech, junior, offensive line
  • Mike Caliendo, Western Michigan University, senior, offensive line

Nominations for the Wuerffel Trophy are made by the respective universities’ Sports Information departments and closed on October 15. The three finalists for the award will be announced on November 23.

The formal announcement of the 2021 recipient will be made on December 9 on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN and the presentation of the 2021 Wuerffel Trophy will occur on February 25, 2022 at the 53rd All Sports Association Awards Banquet in Fort Walton Beach.

Past recipients of the award are:  Rudy Niswanger – Louisiana State University – 2005; Joel Penton – Ohio State University – 2006; Paul Smith – University of Tulsa – 2007; Tim Tebow – University of Florida – 2008; Tim Hiller – Western Michigan University – 2009; Sam Acho – University of Texas – 2010; Barrett Jones – University of Alabama – 2011; Matt Barkley – University of Southern California – 2012; Gabe Ikard – University of Oklahoma – 2013; Deterrian Shackelford – University of Mississippi – 2014; Ty Darlington – University of Oklahoma – 2015; Trevor Knight – Texas A&M University – 2016; Courtney Love – University of Kentucky; 2017; Drue Tranquill - University of Notre Dame; 2018; Jon Wassink - Western Michigan University – 2019; Teton Saltes – University of New Mexico – 2020.

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. For more information on the NCFAA, visit NCFAA.org.

The Wuerffel Trophy is supported by its corporate partners Dart Container Corporation/Solo Cup and Herff Jones.




Established in 2005, the Wuerffel Trophy honors college football players who serve others, celebrate their impact, and inspire greater service in the world.  A member of the National College Football Awards Association, the Wuerffel Trophy is presented annually to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievement on and off the field.  It is the first major award honoring the character of service to others.

The Wuerffel Trophy is named after Heisman Trophy winner, College Football Hall of Famer, former NFL quarterback, and renowned humanitarian Danny Wuerffel, whose life mission is to inspire greater service in the world. Wuerffel led the University of Florida to four SEC Championships and the Gators’ first National Football Championship as the team’s star quarterback. The 1996 Heisman Trophy winner set 17 NCAA and Florida records and won a myriad of other awards including the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, and The William V. Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation’s top scholar-athlete. As a nationally recognized humanitarian, Wuerffel inspires leaders to use their influence to make a positive impact.


Tom Brassell, tombrassell@wuerffeltrophy.org


Shannon Donohue, wuerffelfoundation@berkcommunications.com






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