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PROVO, Utah (Nov. 8, 2007) -- Senior wide receiver Matt Allen has been named one of 11 finalists for the prestigious Wuerffel Trophy. Named to honor former University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, the award is presented annually to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
"I can think of no one who better fits this award and what it stands for," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Matt is one of the finest young men I have known in my coaching career. Matt is fully invested in his personal development, in caring for his family, in his academic goals, in his spiritual growth, in serving the community and in his athletic career. Matt has been exemplary in his attitude, commitment, and work ethic on and off the field. His attitude and behavior motivate and set the tone for the other players on the team."
Allen, a senior from Mesa, Ariz., will graduate from BYU this year with a degree in exercise science. He plans to further his education in pediatric therapy, helping young children overcome physical injury and other disabilities.
"My main motivation for pursuing a career in pediatric therapy is to help physically challenged children learn how to use their bodies, and to perform every-day tasks that come so naturally to many of us," Allen says. "I have been blessed immensely throughout my life. I feel it is my responsibility to provide service to others who may be in need."
Allen was nominated for the award for many reasons; however, the service he has provided to the community is one of the most impressive things he has accomplished since arriving at BYU. He currently serves as a counselor in his ward's bishopric, serves as a team captain and member of the team's leadership council, has spoken to students at local elementary schools over 20 different times, has served as the team's fireside chairman, has volunteered and helped organize projects for Habitat for Humanity, the Utah Food Bank and the Boys and Girls Club -- just to name a few.
"Matt's impact on his family, team, coaches, and the community is truly remarkable," BYU receivers coach Patrick Higgins said. "Matt is a principle-driven young man who lives his life as an example of how young adults can be a true role model."
While at the University of Florida, Wuerffel led the Gators to four SEC championships and a National title. He won the 1996 Heisman trophy, the Draddy award (the Nation's top student-athlete), and set 17 NCAA and University of Florida records. He graduated with High Honors and earned his bachelor's degree in Public Relations.
The New Orleans Saints drafted Wuerffel in 1997. After three years with the Saints, he played with the NFL's European league, winning the World Bowl Championship and was selected the league's MVP by the European media. Wuerffel played one season with each of the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Washington Redskins.
In February 2004, Wuerffel retired from professional football to work in New Orleans with Desire Street Ministries, a faith-based, non-profit organization in one of America's toughest and poorest neighborhoods. Wuerffel now serves as Desire Street Ministries' Executive Director and has led the ministry's transition following Hurricane Katrina.
The 2007 recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy will be announced at the end of November and honored at a banquet on February 15, 2008 at the Emerald Coast Conference Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.