The Wuerffel Trophy, given annually to the athlete who best exemplifies the balance between on-field performance and off-field community service and academic work, is a little different from all the rest. That’s why, despite a record breaking 88 entrants on this summer’s list, just five hail from the Mountain West.
Zack Golditch of Colorado State, for instance, was wounded in the horrific 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and while he’s received some recognition for his return to the field, he’s also volunteered time at Smoky Hills High School in Aurora, too. He’ll also be entrenched along the Rams’ offensive line, hoping to deliver yet another bowl berth to Fort Collins.
San Diego State’s Daniel Brunskill hasn’t lit up the scoresheet at tight end for the Aztecs, but the senior has nonetheless been an integral part of the offense’s success, earning an honorable mention from Pro Football Focus last year on the strength of his blocking. He also worked his way into a scholarship before last year, as well, and was a Mountain West all-academic selection as a student of civil engineering.
Nevada offensive lineman Jeremy Maculey also walked on and eventually earned a scholarship and, like Brunskill, was an all-academic pick. He’s started 23 games for the Wolf Pack since his redshirt freshman season in 2013 and, if healthy, should power a strong familiar running attack in Reno once again.
San Jose State wide receiver Tim Crawley was one of 15 semi-finalists for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award and has been a Mountain West all-academic selection three times. He enters his last year with the Spartans having already graduated magna cum laude with a degree in information systems for business management.
Travis Seefeldt has had to overcome injuries sustained in a 2015 car accident, and the Utah State defensive lineman was granted an extra year of eligibility after missing all of last season. He’s already working on an MBA after using the lost season to graduate with his own degree in information systems for business management.
The demands on a student-athlete’s time are great, and these five are to be commended regardless of how the season unfolds. Last year’s Wuerffel winner was Oklahoma center Ty Darlington.