LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky senior punter Landon Foster (pictured) has been named one of three finalists for the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” it was announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24 by the Fort Walton Beach All-Sports Association. He joins Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld and Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington on the prestigious list.
The Wuerffel Trophy, named after Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the University of Florida, is awarded to the Football Bowl Subdivision player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement. Foster, a native of Franklin, Tenn., has set the standard with his work in the community, using his platform as a student-athlete to consistently and positively affect others. In 2014, Foster represented UK Football on a week-long community service trip to Ethiopia where he interacted with residents of impoverished communities, visited imprisoned men, helped widows, cared for orphans, and helped renovate houses. On the trip, he befriended a 14-year-old boy living in the streets of Korah named Dejene. He was so moved by the boy’s resilience and character to succeed despite his circumstances that Foster worked through an organization called “Adoption Ministry of Youth with a Mission” to pay out of his own pocket to sponsor Dejene. He sent his own money for four months to help pay for his food, clothing, shelter and schooling until Dejene (now named Joshua) was able to move to America with a family from North Carolina.
Foster has also volunteered at the Indian Summer Camp, which is a cancer survivor camp for kids ages 6-18 and spent time at local elementary schools. He has volunteered to help UK students move into their dorms on move-in day, packed backpacks for “Bucks for Backpacks” program, sorted food at God’s Pantry Foodbank, took blankets to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, served “Breakfast with Santa” during Christmas break, helping Santa pass out presents and volunteered at UK’s largest student-run philanthropy, DanceBlue, which raised more than $1.1 million for pediatric cancer research. Foster also excels in the classroom, as he maintains a 3.97 cumulative grade point average as a double major in finance and marketing. He was an Academic All-America selection in 2014 and was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team. On the field, Foster is a four-year starter who is averaging 40.2 yards per punt this season. He holds school records for most punts (248) and punting yards (10,367) in a career. His career average of 41.8 is fourth-best in school history. He is sixth in Southeastern Conference history in career punts and fifth in career punting yardage. Voting for the Wuerffel Trophy is performed by a National Selection Committee that includes college football television and print media, industry notables, former head coaches and prior Wuerffel Trophy recipients. The formal announcement of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy recipient will be on Dec. 8, 2015, at the National Football Foundation’s press conference in New York City. The 2015 Wuerffel Trophy recipient will be interviewed at “The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show” on ESPNU and ESPN3 on Dec. 10, 2015, airing at 6 p.m. EST/5 p.m. CST, featuring interviews with award winners and finalists as they approach the new location for The Home Depot College Football Awards Show, the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The presentation of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy will occur at the 47th Annual All Sports Association Awards Banquet on Feb. 12, 2016, in Fort Walton Beach. Past winners of the Wuerffel Trophy are: 2014 Deterrian Shackelford, University of Mississippi; 2013 Gabe Ikard, University of Oklahoma; 2012 Matt Barkley, University of Southern California; 2011 Barrett Jones, University of Alabama; 2010 Sam Acho, University of Texas; 2009 Tim Hiller, Western Michigan University; 2008 Tim Tebow, University of Florida; 2007 Paul Smith, University of Tulsa; 2006 Joel Penton, Ohio State University; and 2005 Rudy Niswanger, Louisiana State University.
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