TULSA'S SMITH WINS PRESTIGIOUS WUERFFEL AWARD
The award recognizes Smith's community service, athletic and academic achievements
Dec. 4, 2007
Fort Walton Beach, Florida - University of Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith has been named the winner of the third annual Wuerffel Trophy by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach, it was announced today.
The Wuerffel Trophy is presented to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Smith was named a first-team Academic All-America while maintaining a 3.84 GPA in communication.
On the field he was equally impressive throwing for a school and Conference USA record 4,753 yards and 42 touchdowns while passing for more than 300 yards in each of Tulsa's 13 games. Smith was named the Conference USA Co-Offensive Player of the Year and garnered first-team all-conference honors at quarterback.
Smith led the Golden Hurricane to a berth in the Conference-USA Championship Game against Central Florida where he threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns. The senior has ranked among the nation's top passers for the entire season while leading the nation's top-ranked offense to a season average of 542.5 yards.
He will lead the Golden Hurricane into the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 6, 2008 as Tulsa meets Bowling Green.
"We are all thrilled to find out you won because this is an incredible, incredible year with so many finalists that are so deserving," Wuerffel told Smith on Monday. "We are just thrilled to death to announce that you are the winner. My family and I are proud that you will be representing our family as the winner of the Wuerffel Trophy.
"In fact, both my mom (Lola) and dad (Jon), at different points made the comment that of all the candidates you reminded them the most of me. I don't know whether that was good or bad, but according to them that was good, so congratulations Paul."
Smith said he was excited and humbled to join past winners LSU's Rudy Niswanger and Ohio State's Joel Penton as a Wuerffel Trophy winner.
"I'm really honored. It's not just an award to me, it's about a person. He's someone I grew up watching and wanting to be like," said Smith. "I was raised in a Christian home by Christian parents and grandparents. He's lived his life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord and that's something my parents have wanted me to do.
"This is the biggest thing (honor he could receive) just because of my knowledge of Danny Wuerffel and what this trophy represents," Smith said. "I was honored to be nominated and become a finalist. To be mentioned in the same sentence with those that have won it, or were even nominated for it, is probably one of the biggest accolades of my life, if not the biggest.
"There's no better person (than Danny Wuerffel) to model your life after, so I'm really excited."
In addition to Smith's achievements on the playing field and in the classroom, he is actively involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes having served as the Tulsa University FCA president the last three years.
He is a popular speaker and singer throughout the Tulsa area, and has participated in inner city ministry, and has been active in programs that educate young people so they can make positive choices about drugs and alcohol.
The 39th annual banquet honoring Smith will be held on February 15, 2008 at the Emerald Coast Conference Center. Keynote speaker at the event is South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier. More information can be found at www.wuerffeltrophy.org.