The college football season is in a month-long hiatus, but the season picks up again in another couple of weeks, when the majority of the postseason bowl games start kicking off and continue right on through the first of the new year.
In between time, the gap in game action will be filled with the cavalcade of individual awards honoring the best performers of the 2013 season. And that gets a giant sendoff on Saturday, when the winner of the 2013 Heisman Trophy is announced.
Preceding the prized Heisman, however, the organizers behind the Wuerffel Trophy have announced that this year’s winner of that national award is Oklahoma All-American and All-Big 12 center Gabe Ikard. The Wuerffel Trophy recognizes the college player every season who best combines stellar community service along with outstanding athletic and academic performance.
Ikard, a co-captain on the Sooners offensive unit, has started 51 games in his career at Oklahoma, including every game this season. He graduated last May with a degree in multidisciplinary studies-biological sciences and a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He hopes that degree will help him later pursue a medial degree. In the mean time, Ikard is working on a second undergraduate degree, in human relations.
The senior from Oklahoma City is a recipient of the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award and is a finalist for the Walter V. Campbell Trophy, another national award that recognizes community service and on- and off-the-field performance.
“This is a tremendous honor, just overwhelming,” Ikard said. “When you consider all that this trophy represents from academic achievement to athletic achievement along with community service, I think this definitely ranks up there as the biggest honor I’ve received.
“Coach (Bob) Stoops consistently preached to us about being active in the community and being dedicated in the classroom,” he said, “and to receive this honor is unbeleivable.”
The Wuerffel Trophy is named in honor of former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who was a quarterback at Florida and led the Gators to the 1998 national championship. Wueffel also played six seasons in the National Football League
Said Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione: “When I spoke with Danny Wuerffel, I told him that they could not have picked a better person for this award. Gabe is the personification of leadership. From the moment he stepped on campus, he has always been an example of what a student athlete should be.”
This is the ninth year for the Wueffel Trophy. Ikard is the second Big 12 student athlete to receive the award. Sam Acho, a former defensive end for Texas, was so honored in 2010. Last year’s winner was Matt Barkley of USC.
The Wuerffel Trophy will be officially presented to Ikard on Feb. 7 at the annual banquet of the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach (Fla.).