Brett Pyne | Posted: 29 Jul 2021 | Updated: 5 Aug 2021

Empey garners fourth watch list with Wuerffel Trophy recognition

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James Empey named to 2021 Wuerffel Trophy watch list

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — The Wuerffel Trophy, college football's premier award for community service, today named BYU center James Empey to its preseason watch list of 93 players receiving consideration for the annual award honoring college football's top community servant.

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.

In being recognized on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, Empey received his fourth 2021 preseason watch list honor in addition to being named a preseason All-American by both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. Empey was previously recognized for his off-the-field resume as a candidate for the prestigious 2021 AFCA Good Works Team, and was selected to the Rimington Award Watch List (most outstanding center) for the third time and Outland Trophy Watch List (top interior lineman) for the second straight year. 

A team captain and leader on the offensive line for the Cougars, Empey has started in all 34 games he has played over the past three seasons. He has also been an active leader helping serve others off the field, including working with head coach Kalani Sitake's More to Life Foundation in California and New York over the years.

A regular volunteer in the community, Empey organized BYU Football's involvement with the My Tiny Hero program locally in Utah, raising awareness for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). In the classroom, Empey is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection who recently graduated with a 3.84 GPA as a finance major with a minor in nonprofit management.

Nominations for the Wuerffel Trophy are made by the respective universities' Sports Information Departments and close on October 15. Semifinalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 2 and finalists will be announced on Nov. 22. The formal announcement of the 2021 recipient will be made on Dec. 9 and the presentation of the 2021 Wuerffel Trophy will occur in February 2022 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Select the following link for the complete 2021 Wuerffel Trophy Preseason Watch List.

Wuerffel Trophy Past Recipients
Past recipients of the award are: Rudy Niswanger – Louisiana State University - 2005; Joel Penton - Ohio State University - 2006; Paul Smith – University of Tulsa - 2008; 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. 

About the Wuerffel Trophy
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.

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