Daniel Carl Wuerffel (born May 27, 1974) is a former college and professional American football quarterback who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy and the 1996 national football championship while playing college football for the University of Florida. Wuerffel was a prolific passer in coach Steve Spurrier's offense. He led the nation in touchdown passes in 1995 and 1996, and set numerous school and conference records. Wuerffel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
After graduating from Florida, Wuerffel was drafted by the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He spent six years in the league with four teams, finding limited success as a backup and an occasional starter. He also played a season in NFL Europe, where he led the Rhein Fire to a league championship and was named MVP of World Bowl 2000.
Wuerffel last played professional football in 2002, officially retiring in 2004. He returned to New Orleans to work with Desire Street Ministries, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development. Wuerffel had first become involved with the organization while playing for the Saints in the late 1990s, and as the organization attempted to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he became its executive director. Under Wuerffel, Desire Street Ministries moved its headquarters to Atlanta and expanded its programs to other inner cities in the American south.
Wuerffel speaking at Eglin Air Force Base in 2009
|No. 7, 17|
|Born:||May 27, 1974|
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||212 lb (96 kg)|
|High school:||Fort Walton Beach (FL)|
|NFL Draft:||1997 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Wuerffel was born in Pensacola, Florida, in 1974, the son of a Lutheran minister who was a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. While he was growing up, his family and he lived in South Carolina, Spain, Nebraska, and Colorado before he attended Fort Walton Beach High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Wuerffel was a standout high school football and basketball player for the Fort Walton Beach Vikings. In football, he led the Vikings to an undefeated season as a senior quarterback, while winning the Florida Class 4A state football championship in 1991 and earning the number two national ranking in USA Today. Wuerffel was widely considered the top high school football recruit in the state of Florida, and USA Today's high school player of the year in Florida during his senior year. He graduated from high school as his class valedictorian.
Wuerffel accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played quarterback for head coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football team from 1993 to 1996. One of the most decorated players in Florida's football history, he was a key member of the Gators teams that won four consecutive Southeastern Conference titles between 1993 and 1996. Wuerffel graduated from the university with a bachelor's degree in public relations, and was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2006. On September 30, 2006, Wuerffel was inducted into the Gator Football Ring of Honor alongside his former coach Spurrier and two other former Gator players, Jack Youngblood and Emmitt Smith. Wuerffel was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
The 1993 season was the first in which the Gators were ranked in the AP top 10 every week. In the second week, quarterbacks Wuerffel and Terry Dean throw a total of seven interceptions against Kentucky. With eight seconds left, Wuerffel threw a pass down the middle to walk-on receiver Chris Doering for the game-winning touchdown; Gator play-by-play announcer Mick Hubert shouted, "Doering's got a touchdown!" The next week, Florida recovered and defeated Heath Shuler-led and fifth-ranked Tennessee 41–34 in a "shootout".
Wuerffel had split playing time with fellow quarterback Terry Dean for much of the 1993 and 1994 seasons. With Dean graduated, Wuerffel was the clear starter coming into the 1995 season, and he made the most of his opportunity. The Gators went through the regular season undefeated, and Wuerffel set several Southeastern Conference (SEC) and NCAA records for passing, including the SEC season record for touchdown passes and the NCAA record for passing efficiency . Highlights included a September win over rival Tennessee in which Florida rallied from a 30-14 deficit to win 62-37 behind Wuerffel's SEC record 6 touchdown passes. Sports Illustrated had sent a team of reporters to cover the top-10 matchup and had planned to put Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning on the cover. However, after the Gators' win, they decided to put Wuerffel on the cover instead, bringing him his first major national attention.
He led the Gators to the Bowl Alliance national championship game following the 1995 season, but ultimately lost 62–24 to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl. Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman Trophy, as the outstanding college football player in America, while quarterbacking the Gators into their second consecutive Bowl Alliance national championship game with help from teammates Fred Taylor at running back; Reidel Anthony, Ike Hilliard, and Jacquez Green at wide receiver; and Jeff Mitchell on the offensive line. Wuerffel and the Gators won the 1996 national championship in decisive fashion by defeating the Florida State Seminoles 52–20 in the Sugar Bowl.
Wuerffel was a first-team All-American in 1995, and a consensus first-team All-American in 1996. He received the Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1995, the Davey O'Brien Award in 1995 and 1996, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 1996, and was named the Quarterback of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus in 1996. Wuerffel declined to be included on Playboy magazine's All-America team as well as its Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, saying, "That's not the type of person I am or would like to portray myself as." His Gators teammates picked him as the squad's most valuable player in 1995 and 1996; his coaches chose him as one of the Gators' team captains. He was later named to The Gainesville Sun's Florida Gators Team of the Century in 1999, was chosen by the Sun as the number one player in the first 100 years of Gators football, and was listed as a member of the Florida Gators 100th Anniversary Team in 2006.
He is one of only two Heisman Trophy winners to also receive the Draddy Trophy, which is presented annually by the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame to the nation's top football scholar-athlete. Wuerffel was also a first-team Academic All-American in 1995 and 1996.
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.
|1995||210||325||3,266 2||64.6%||35 1||10||178.4 1|
|1996||207||360||3,625 2||57.5%||39 1||13||170.6 2|
Notes: 1 indicates NCAA leader, 2 indicates SEC leader
The New Orleans Saints selected Wuerffel in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft, and he played for the Saints for three seasons from 1997 to 1999. Wuerffel spent the offseason before the 2000 NFL season with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europa, where he led the team to a league championship and was named MVP of World Bowl 2000. He spent single seasons as a backup with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in 2000 and 2001. Wuerffel was drafted by the Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL Expansion Draft, only to be traded to the Washington Redskins a week later, reuniting him with college coach Steve Spurrier. Wuerffel started several games that season, alternating with fellow Florida Gator alumnus Shane Matthews, but was released by the team before the 2003 season, much to the chagrin of Spurrier.
After not being signed by another team in 2003, Wuerffel decided to retire from professional football in February 2004.
Wuerffel began work at Desire Street Ministries, a nonprofit, faith-based organization focusing on spiritual and community development in areas of New Orleans.
The All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach created the Wuerffel Trophy in his honor in 2005. Florida sculptor W. Stanley Proctor created the design which commemorates Danny Wuerffel, "as he prays after a touchdown. It is awarded annually by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach, Florida to the athlete who best exemplifies Wuerffel's character on the field of play and in the classroom.
In 2014, Emerald Bay Country Club in Destin, Florida, hosted the 1st Annual Danny Wuerffel Golf Classic, known as the "Danny Cup". A small stretch of road between the Mid-Bay Bridge and Highway 98 in Destin, still his parents' home, has been dedicated as "Danny Wuerffel Way" by the Florida state legislature.
The 1995 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1995 NCAA Division I-A football season. The selectors for the 1995 season included the Associated Press (AP) and the conference coaches (Coaches).
Three teams dominated the All-SEC selections with more than five honorees, as follows:
Conference champion Florida was ranked No. 2 in the final AP Poll and placed 11 players among the first- or second-team All-SEC teams. Six Florida players were selected as first-team players by both the AP and Coaches: wide receiver Chris Doering, offensive linemen Reggie Green and Jason Odom, defensive end Mark Campbell, linebacker Ben Hanks, and defensive back Lawrence Wright. Quarterback Danny Wuerffel was selected as a first-team player by the AP and was voted SEC Player of the Year.
Tennessee was ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll and placed 10 players among the first- and second-team selections. Tennessee's honorees included quarterback Peyton Manning (Coaches-1) and wide receiver Joey Kent (AP-1).
Arkansas won the SEC Western Division and placed six players among the first- and second-team honorees. The Arkansas honorees included running back Madre Hill (AP-1, Coaches-1) and linebacker Mark Smith (AP-1, Coaches-1).1995 Florida Gators football team
The 1995 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida in the sport of American football during the 1995 college football season. The 1995 season was the Florida Gators' sixth year under head coach Steve Spurrier and was one of the most successful in school history, as the Gators finished the regular season unbeaten and untied for the first time (the 1911 team went 5–0–1).
The Gators used coach Spurrier's pass-heavy "fun 'n gun" offense". Led by Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Danny Wuerffel, the offense set many school and conference offensive records, including passing touchdowns, passing yards per game, total yards per game, and points per game, among others.After finishing the regular season 12–0 (8–0 in the SEC), Florida defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 34–3 in the 1995 SEC Championship Game. As the No. 2 ranked team, the Gators were invited to play in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, which was the Bowl Alliance national championship game. In Tempe, Florida lost 24–62 to the No. 1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers but remained No. 2 in the final AP poll.1996 All-SEC football team
The 1996 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season.
The Florida Gators won the conference, beating the Alabama Crimson Tide 45 to 30 in the SEC Championship game. The Gators then won the national championship, defeating the Florida State Seminoles 52 to 20 in the Sugar Bowl.
Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel repeated as SEC Player of the Year.1996 Fiesta Bowl
The 1996 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game was a post-season college football bowl game which served as the Bowl Alliance's designated national championship game for the 1995 college football season. Played on January 2, 1996, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, the game matched the two top-ranked teams in the nation, No. 1 Nebraska of the Big Eight and No. 2 Florida of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Nebraska won the national championship by defeating Florida, 62–24.1996 Florida Gators football team
The 1996 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida in the sport of American football during the 1996 college football season. The 1996 season was the team's seventh under head coach Steve Spurrier. The Gators competed in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and played their home games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus.
The Gators posted a 12–1 record and won their fifth consecutive SEC Eastern Division title, their fourth straight SEC Championship Game, and their first national championship in team history, with a 52–20 Sugar Bowl rout of their in-state rivals, the Florida State Seminoles.
The Gators used coach Spurrier's pass-heavy "fun 'n gun" offense". Quarterback Danny Wuerffel won the Heisman Trophy. Wuerffel as well as his wide receivers Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony were consensus All-Americans.1996 NCAA Division I-A football season
The 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the Florida Gators crowned National Champions, but not as unanimously as the Bowl Alliance would have hoped.
Florida defeated Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, which was the designated National Championship that year. Florida had faced Florida State earlier in the year, when they were ranked #1 and #2, and lost. Were it not for Texas beating Nebraska, then #3, in the first ever Big 12 Championship Game, Florida wouldn't have even been in the bowl game.
And even once they were there, it wasn't certain a victory would mean a national championship. The Rose Bowl game featured #2 Arizona State and #4 Ohio State. Florida St. and Arizona St. were the only unbeatens going into bowl season, so a Rose Bowl victory would give the Sun Devils a legitimate chance on winning the title. This scenario looked plausible as Arizona State's Jake Plummer scored with 1:40 left to play in the game, making the score 17-14. But Ohio State's backup quarterback Joe Germaine marched down the field to pull out a heart stopping 20-17 win.
On the one hand, this meant the national title game the following night would produce an incontrovertible champion. On the other hand, it left doubt to whether or not Ohio State deserved a stake in the national title, as evidenced by the team's 1½ first place votes in the final AP poll. The Pac-10 and Big Ten could no longer afford to hold on to tradition while the rest of the country wanted a clear national champion. Reading the writing on the wall, they would soon join the national championship series with the other major conferences.
The Big 12 (Big 8 + 4 SWC members in Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor) would begin play as a two division conference, with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State joining the South Division, breaking up the classic Nebraska–Oklahoma rivalry, but renewing the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry, known as the Red River Shootout. The first football game in conference play was between Texas Tech and Kansas State. Kansas State won by a score of 21–14.There was a large controversy when #5 BYU was robbed of a spot in a Bowl Alliance game, as they were snubbed in favor of lower ranked teams from Bowl Alliance conferences. This would spur Congress into action, and would eventually be a reason the BCS polls were created.
The 1996 season was also notable as it marked the end of ties in college football, as an overtime system was put into place across all of Division I-A. The 1995 season had overtime rules, but only for postseason games.1997 New Orleans Saints season
The 1997 New Orleans Saints season was the Saints 31st season.1997 Sugar Bowl
The 1997 Sugar Bowl was the 63rd edition to the annual Sugar Bowl game and served as the Bowl Alliance's designated national championship game for the 1996 season. It matched No. 1 Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) against No. 3 Florida of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Florida defeated Florida State in convincing fashion, with a final score of 52–20, and with the victory earned its first-ever consensus national championship.Davey O'Brien Award
The Davey O'Brien Award, officially the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, named after Davey O'Brien, is presented annually to the collegiate American football player adjudged by the Davey O'Brien Foundation to be the best of all National Collegiate Athletic Association quarterbacks. The Davey O'Brien Hall of Fame is housed at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The annual awards dinner and trophy presentation is held there as well, usually in February.
In 1977, directly after the death of O'Brien, the award was established as the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy, and was given to the most outstanding player in the Southwest. Texas running back Earl Campbell won the trophy in 1977, Oklahoma running back Billy Sims won it in 1978, and Baylor linebacker Mike Singletary won it twice in 1979 and 1980. In 1981, the award was renamed the Davey O'Brien Award.
Since the renaming of the award in 1981, four players have won the award twice: Ty Detmer of BYU, Danny Wuerffel of Florida, Jason White of Oklahoma, and Deshaun Watson of Clemson.
The Executive Director of the Davey O'Brien Award is Bill Brady.Florida Gators football
The Florida Gators football program represents the University of Florida in American college football. Florida competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They play their home games in Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (nicknamed "The Swamp") on the university's Gainesville campus. The team's current head coach is Dan Mullen. The Gators have won three national championships and eight SEC titles in the 112-season history of Florida football.Florida Gators football statistical leaders
The Florida Gators football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Florida Gators football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, Single season and career leaders. The Gators represent the University of Florida in the NCAA's Southeastern Conference.
Although Florida began competing in intercollegiate football in 1906, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1950. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.
These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:
Since 1950, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.
Freshmen were barred from varsity football due to conference rules since 1922, and the NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.
Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002. The Gators have played in 15 bowl games since then, giving recent players an extra game to accumulate statistics.
Similarly, the Gators have played in the SEC Championship Game 12 times since it began in 1992, so players in those seasons had 12 games to rack up stats.
All of the top 10 Gator seasons when ranked by total offensive yards have come under recent coaches Steve Spurrier (1990–2001) and Urban Meyer (2005–2010). Indeed, the offensive lists are dominated by players who played under one of these coaches.These lists are updated through the end of the 2018 season.List of Florida Gators starting quarterbacks
This list of Florida Gators starting quarterbacks includes members of the Florida Gators football team who have started at the quarterback position in one or more regular season or post-season games. The Florida Gators represent the University of Florida in the sport of American football, and they compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Florida Gators quarterbacks have led their teams to 689 wins, forty post-season bowl games, eight SEC championships, and three consensus national championships.
Three Gators quarterbacks have won the Heisman Trophy: Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerffel (1996), and Tim Tebow (2007). Five have been recognized as first-team All-Americans: Spurrier (1966), John Reaves (1971), Wuerffel (1996), Rex Grossman (2000), and Tebow (2007). Eighteen have been inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, including sixteen recognized as "Gator Greats" for their college sports careers, and two as "Distinguished Lettermen" for their post-college career achievements. Two former Gators quarterbacks have returned to lead the Gators as their head coach: Doug Dickey (1970–78) and Steve Spurrier (1990–2001).List of NCAA major college football yearly passing leaders
The list of college football yearly passing and total offense leaders identifies the major college passing leaders for each season from 1937 to the present. It includes yearly leaders in three statistical categories: (1) passing yardage; (2) passing touchdowns; and (3) passer rating.Mick Hubert
Mick Hubert is the radio play-by-play announcer of Florida Gators athletic teams at the University of Florida. He covers football, basketball, baseball, and other sports. Hubert has worked for UF since 1989. Hubert graduated from Illinois State University in 1976. Prior to joining the Gator Radio Network, he worked as the sports director at WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio, and did play-by-play for Bradley University athletics. He also did play-by-play of NCAA tournament games for ESPN from 1986 to 1990.
As the radio voice of the Gators, Hubert called the Gators' 1996, 2006, and 2008 football national championship wins over the Florida State Seminoles, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Oklahoma Sooners, as well as the 2006 and 2007 men's basketball championship victories over UCLA, and Ohio State in the NCAA tournament. On football broadcasts, he works with color analyst Lee McGriff. For basketball games, he calls the action alongside Mark Wise.
Hubert's trademark call of "Oh my!" is synonymous to listeners who know something good has just happened. It is most commonly recognized following great plays throughout Gator history including Chris Doering's last-minute touchdown catch from Danny Wuerffel to beat Kentucky in 1993, Jacquez Green's reception in the final two minutes against Florida State in 1997 to set up the game-winning touchdown, Jarvis Moss's blocked field goal to secure the 2006 victory against South Carolina to keep Florida in the hunt for the national championship, Antonio Callaway's 63-yard touchdown reception on 4th and 14 to defeat Tennessee 28–27 in 2015, the goal line stand as time ran out against LSU in 2016, Chris Chiozza's running three-pointer at the buzzer to defeat Wisconsin in overtime to advance to the Elite Eight in 2017, and the 63-yard game-winning Felipe Franks touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland as time expired in a 2017 football game against the Tennessee Volunteers.Southeastern Conference football individual awards
Coaches and media of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) bestow the following individual awards at the end of each college football season.Terry Dean
Terry Dean (born January 11, 1971) is a former American and Canadian football quarterback in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Arena Football League (AFL) and World League of American Football (WLAF). He played college football at Florida. Dean played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, Florida Bobcats of the AFL and the Rhein Fire of the WLAF.Tremayne Allen
Tremayne Aubrey Allen (born August 9, 1974) is a former American football tight end in the National Football League who played for the Chicago Bears. He played college football for the Florida Gators. He also played in the XFL for the Los Angeles Xtreme.Wuerffel Trophy
The Wuerffel Trophy is an award given annually to the college football player "who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement." The trophy, designed by W. Stanley Proctor and named in honor of former University of Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel by the All Sports Association, shows Wuerffel praying after scoring a touchdown.