University of Kentucky senior linebacker Courtney Love is the winner of the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy, an award that honors college football’s top community servant, it was announced Tuesday in New York.
Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Love, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, leads the team in community service hours and has a passion for mentoring children, especially those living in a one-parent household or children who have parents who are incarcerated. He currently volunteers at Amachi Central Kentucky, a mentoring program that seeks to pair caring, positive adults with children and youth in the Bluegrass who have one or both parents in state or federal prison or are affected by incarceration in some way.
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He also has served in a Skype mentoring program with area high school students, and has taken part in events with the UK Children’s Hospital, Read Across America, and Special Olympics, along with other service activities. In May of 2016, Love participated in a service/educational trip to Ethiopia where he helped build houses and shoe-shining boxes, which men use to provide for their families. He also delivered food to impoverished families and visited with orphans and widows.
“I really can’t emphasize enough what he’s meant to myself and to our program and how proud I am of him,” UK Coach Mark Stoops said Tuesday. “He’s a special, special individual. Obviously winning an award like the Wuerffel Trophy, which is basically like the Heisman Trophy of that particular area, and what he’s done says a lot about him. Everything about him is authentic. He is genuinely a great person, a good teammate, a great citizen.
He’s talking to me about getting into coaching, and I have to sit him down and ask him, ‘Is he completely nuts?’ ... I think he would be successful in anything he chooses to do.”
In the classroom, Love was named to the 2016 SEC Academic Honor Roll, graduating in May with a degree in community and leadership development. He is working on a second degree in communications. He also serves as one of UK football’s representatives on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
On the field, he ranks second on the team in tackles with 82 and has started and been a captain in all 12 games. He ranks tied for 23rd nationally in fumble recoveries with two and has posted a career-high in tackles twice with 10 versus Missouri and Louisville.
Love will be interviewed on “The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show” on ESPNU and ESPN3 on Dec. 7, airing at 6 p.m.
Past winners of the Wuerffel Trophy are: 2016 Trevor Knight, Texas A&M; 2015 Ty Darlington, Oklahoma; 2014 Deterrian Shackelford, Ole Miss; 2013 Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma; 2012 Matt Barkley, Southern California; 2011 Barrett Jones, Alabama; 2010 Sam Acho, Texas; 2009 Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; 2008 Tim Tebow, Florida; 2007 Paul Smith, Tulsa; 2006 Joel Penton, Ohio State; and 2005 Rudy Niswanger, Louisiana State.