Nov. 12, 2013
Fort Walton Beach, Fla. -- Senior placekicker Carey Spear is one of 12 finalists for the 2013 Wuerffel Trophy, the national award that honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement, the sponsoring All Sports Association announced Nov. 11.
Spear, a product of Mayfield H.S. near Cleveland, Ohio, becomes the first Commodore student-athlete ever named as a Wuerffel Trophy finalist.
The award is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, led Florida to the 1996 national championship, played six years in the NFL. Wuerffel has gained national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans and around the country.
"Once again, I'm amazed as I look at this year's finalists. All these young men are truly remarkable and I am honored to have them representing the trophy named after me," Wuerffel said.
Spear has become one of the nation's top placekickers since becoming the Commodores' starter last year. An All-SEC recipient as a junior, Spear holds several team records, including most field goals in a season (20, 2012) and most field goals of 50+ yards (4). This year, he is 8-of-10 on field goals, and has developed into one of the NCAA's elite kickoff specialists.
The Wuerffel recognition is just the latest accolade for Spear. Two weeks ago, he became the first Commodore ever named to the Allstate-American Football Coaches Association National Good Works Team. Earlier this season, he also was named as a Senior CLASS Award semifinalist.
Spear has made his mark as a Vanderbilt undergraduate off the football field. A recent finalist for the Vanderbilt Outstanding Senior Award, the two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient is scheduled to earn a Bachelor's degree in May.
He has also been active in local and international community service projects. For the last two years, Spear and several Vanderbilt teammates have actively contributed to community outreach projects guided by CrossPoint Church, including mentoring women struggling with addiction and adopt-a-block cleanup efforts in Nashville. He has assisted and mentored clients of Nashville's Safe Harbor, a recovery project aiming to keep adult men free of drugs and alcohol.
Spear also has participated in three mission trips as a Vanderbilt student, traveling to Mexico, Haiti and Peru to work in underprivileged communities.
Other Wuerffel Trophy finalists are Hayden Tippett of Army (Sr., FB), Dave Harding of Duke (Sr., OL), Aaron Murray of Georgia (Sr., QB), Will Jackson of Georgia Tech (Sr., OL), Nathan Scheelhaase of Illinois (Sr., QB), James Morris of Iowa (Sr., LB), Jacob Karam of Memphis (Sr., QB), Chris Hawthorne of Minnesota (Sr., PK), Gabe Ikard of Oklahoma, (Sr., OL) and Ryan Alderman of Temple (Sr., WR) and Eric Soza of Texas-San Antonio (Sr., QB).
A committee that includes the Wuerffel Trophy national directors, selection committee members and past winners, will vote on the finalists later this month, and the winner will be announced on December 10.
Past Winners of the award are Matt Barkley of USC, 2012; Barrett Jones of Alabama, 2011; Sam Acho of Texas, 2010; Tim Hiller of Western Michigan, 2009; Tim Tebow of Florida, 2008; Paul Smith of Tulsa, 2007; Joel Penton of Ohio State; 2006; and Rudy Niswanger of LSU, 2005.
The 2013 Wuerffel Trophy will be presented to the winner at the All Sports Association's 45th Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. For more information visit www.wuerffeltrophy.org.