Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill has been lauded at Notre Dame for his off-the-field accomplishments nearly as much his play on the field. On Tuesday, he earned national recognition for those extracurricular achievements.
Tranquill, a Fort Wayne native and Carroll graduate, won the Wuerffel Trophy, awarded annually since 2005 to the FBS player who “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”
The trophy is named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, a Florida quarterback, who informed Tranquill that the linebacker had won the award when Tranquill arrived in New York.
“We are honored to announce that Drue is this year's recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy and are elated about him joining our family of past winners,” Wuerffel said in a statement.
“What he has done serving others off the field, along with his work in the classroom and on the playing field, represents the true meaning of the award.”
This was the third year Tranquill had been a nominee for the award. In addition to graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in May, he has also volunteered with Lifeworks Ministry in South Bend and AWP Sports in Fort Wayne.
He's been on three mission trips to the Dominican Republic with Here for Kids International and works with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and the South Bend Boys and Girls Clubs.
“I look back on my childhood and consider myself so fortunate,” Tranquill said in 2016 about his work with Lifeworks. “I look at some of these kids who come from broken homes and bad situations and I have a deep sympathy for them because they didn't have the opportunities that I had.
“If I didn't have people believing in me growing up I wouldn't be at Notre Dame right now.”
Tranquill has been a captain at Notre Dame the last two years, just the 23rd two-time captain in the history of the Irish football program. He finished the regular season with 75 tackles, including nine for loss, and 31/2 sacks.
As a result of winning the award, the Notre Dame linebacker will be interviewed on the “College Football Awards Red Carpet Show” at 6 p.m. Thursday on ESPNU and ESPN3.
He'll officially accept the Wuerffel Trophy on Feb. 15 at the All Sports Association Awards Banquet in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Purdue quarterback David Blough was also one of the three finalists for the award.
“The community service that these young men have done is just incredible,” Wuerffel said of the finalists. “I wish we could hand out 3 Wuerffel Trophies.”
In addition to winning the Wuerffel Trophy, Tranquill was one of 13 nominees for the 29th William V. Campbell Trophy, known colloquially as the “Academic Heisman,” given to the best scholar-athlete in the country. Saint Francis linebacker Piercen Harnish was also one of the 13 finalists for the award.
As finalists, Harnish and Tranquill each received postgraduate scholarships worth $18,000 and were invited to attend Tuesday's National Football Foundation Awards Dinner in New York. Clemson's Christian Wilkins won the award.