University of Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard was honored Tuesday as the winner of the 2013 Wuerffel Trophy, given annually by the All-Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
“This is a tremendous honor, just overwhelming,” Ikard said. “When you consider all that this trophy represents from academic achievement to athletic achievement along with community service, I think this definitely ranks up there as the biggest honor I’ve received.
“Coach (Bob) Stoops consistently preaches to us about being active in the community and being dedicated in the classroom, and to receive this honor is unbelievable. I’ve been fortunate to have been given an amazing platform as a student-athlete, and I’m proud to be standing here today.”
Ikard is a senior co-captain who has started 51 games in his career, including every game at center for the Sooners this season. Named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, Ikard was also named a midseason All-American by USA Today, Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com.
He graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in multidisciplinary studies – biological sciences in May, a field of study that will prepare him to someday pursue a medical degree. Ikard is currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree at OU in human relations.
“When I spoke with Danny Wuerffel earlier, I told him that they could not have picked a better person for this award,” said Joe Castiglione, University of Oklahoma vice president for intercollegiate athletics and Director of Athletics. “Gabe is the personification of leadership. From the moment he stepped on campus, he has always been an example of what a student-athlete should be.
“He’s always the first to raise his hand when asked to do community service and he’s been a tremendous representative for the University of Oklahoma.”
Off the field, Ikard serves on the OU leadership team for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was lauded by the school for his leadership in responding to the tragic Oklahoma City tornado disaster earlier this year and made a life-changing relief trip to earthquake-stricken Haiti in 2012.
“I’m thrilled that Gabe is the 2013 winner of the Wuerffel Trophy,” said Wuerffel. “His success on the field and in the classroom along with his countless hours of sacrificial service make him an ideal recipient. He stands for everything the trophy is about, and he’ll be an excellent addition to the fraternity of former winners.”
In addition, Ikard is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Fans are encouraged to vote at seniorCLASSaward.com through Dec. 16. Ikard was also named 2013 CoSIDA Academic All-District and received the 2013 Gerald Lage Award, the highest academic award given by the Big 12 Conference. He also was presented with the 2013 Dan S. Petty Scholar-Athlete Award, presented by the Cotton Bowl Association.
The Wuerffel Trophy is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 national championship, played six years in the National Football League and has received national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans and around the country.Ikard will be presented with the Wuerffel trophy at the All Sports Association’s annual banquet on Feb. 7.