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Danny Wuerffel
Danny Wuerffel at Eglin AFB 2009-02-20.JPG
Wuerffel in February 2009
Position(s)
Quarterback
Jersey #(s)
7, 17
Born May 27, 1974 (1974-05-27) (age 35)
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Career information
Year(s) 19972002
NFL Draft 1997 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99
College Florida
Professional teams
Career stats
TD-INT 12-22
Yards 2,123
QB Rating 56.4
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards

Daniel Carl Wuerffel (born May 27, 1974 in Pensacola, Florida) is a former American football player. He won the 1996 Heisman Trophy while playing quarterback at the University of Florida under coach Steve Spurrier. He later played for several National Football League teams, retiring in 2002. Since retiring from football Wuerffel has been engaged in charitable work in New Orleans.

Contents

Early life

Wuerffel is the son of a Lutheran chaplain in the United States Air Force. He lived in South Carolina, Spain, Nebraska, and Colorado before attending Fort Walton Beach High School where he was a standout in football and basketball. In football, he led the Vikings to an undefeated season as a senior while winning the Florida AAAA state football championship in 1991 and #2 national ranking in USA Today. His coach, Jimmy Ray Stephens, became responsible for protecting Wuerffel on the field after being hired as the offensive line coach at Florida.

College career

Wuerffel attended the University of Florida. One of the most decorated players in Florida's football history, Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman Trophy while quarterbacking the Gators to the consensus national championship with help from teammates Fred Taylor at running back, Reidel Anthony, Ike Hilliard and Jacquez Green at receiver and Jeff Mitchell on the offensive line. He led the Florida Gators to four consecutive Southeastern Conference titles between 1993 and 1996, and the 1996 National Championship, won in decisive fashion (52-20) over archrival Florida State University at the 1997 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the only Heisman Trophy recipient to receive the Draddy, which is presented by the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

Wuerffel was a First-team All-America selection in 1995 and 1996 and two-time recipient of the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top college quarterback both of those seasons. Also awarded the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award award as the nation's top senior quarterback. In 1995 he also was awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy, emblematic of the nation's top collegiate passer. Also in 1996 he was named the NCAA QB of the Year but the Touchdown Club of Columbus.[1]. He was named to the Gainesville Sun’s UF Team of the Century in 1999 and was chosen the century’s top Gator offensive player by that publication. Also a member of the Florida Gator's 100th Anniversary Team, which was chosen in 2006.

He finished his Gator career by completing 708 of 1,170 passes for 10,875 yards with 114 touchdown passes, the best in SEC history and second-most in major college history. His career pass efficiency rating of 163.56 was the best in major college history and his percentage of passes which went for a touchdown (9.74) ranked first in collegiate history. In 1995, his efficiency rating of 178.4 set a single-season collegiate record. During his Heisman-winning season of 1996, he completed 207 of 360 passes for 3,625 yards (an SEC record at the time) for 39 touchdowns (leading the nation) and his efficiency rating of 170.6 made him the first quarterback to ever post a rating of 170 or better in back-to-back years.

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Statistics

Year Comp Att Comp % Passing TD INT
1993 159 273 58.2 2230 22 10
1994 132 212 62.3 1754 18 9
1995 210 325 64.6 3266 35 10
1996 207 360 57.5 3625 39 13

Career stats at Florida

Most Pass Attempts

  • Career : 1,169
  • Season : 360 (1996)
  • Game : 50 (1993) at Auburn

Most Pass Completions

  • Career : 708
  • Season : 210 (1995)
  • Game : 29 (1995) vs. Tennessee

Most Pass Yards

  • Career : 10,875
  • Season : 3,625 (1996)
  • Game : 462 (1996) vs. Arkansas

Professional career

His National Football League career started with being drafted in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. After playing six seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Washington Redskins, Wuerffel retired. One highlight of his professional career was winning the MVP award in World Bowl 2000 while playing for Rhein Fire in NFL Europa (the game was won by Fire 13-10 over the Scottish Claymores).

Life after the NFL

Wuerffel began work at Desire Street Ministries, a non-profit faith-based organization focusing on spiritual and community development in one of the poorest areas of New Orleans. He also speaks to college groups, such as the University of Florida Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In 2004 Wuerffel co-authored a book called Tales from the Gator Swamp, in which he covers his college football career at Florida.

For his exemplary achievements on and off the field, the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach created the Wuerffel Trophy in his honor in 2005. It is to be awarded annually to the athlete who best exemplifies the character and play on the field that Wuerffel achieved.[2] Due to his student-athlete accomplishments, moral integrity, and spiritual inspiration, a small stretch of road between the Mid-Bay Bridge and Highway 98 in Destin has been dedicated Danny Wuerffel Way by the Florida state legislature.[3]

Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wuerffel's home and Desire Street Ministries. He has made national news with his calls to action and plans to rebuild Desire Street Ministries and New Orleans.

On September 30, 2006, Wuerffel was inducted into the Gator Football Ring of Honor alongside his former coach Steve Spurrier and two other Gator legends: Jack Youngblood and Emmitt Smith.

References

Preceded by
Terry Dean
Florida Gator Quarterbacks
(1993-1996)
Succeeded by
Doug Johnson
Preceded by
Eddie George
Heisman Trophy Winner
1996
Succeeded by
Charles Woodson

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