Rivera Named As Finalist For Wuerffel Trophy

Nov. 14, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas linebacker Mike Rivera was named as one of 15 finalists this week for the 2008 Wuerffel Trophy, a national award that honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.

Rivera, a senior from Shawnee Mission, Kan. has been one of the most active Kansas student-athletes in his community service activities and has earned the team’s community service award in each of the last two years.

Earlier this season, Rivera was named a semifinalist for the Draddy Award, based on academic success, football performance and community leadership and was a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes community work.

He has excelled in the classroom and should become a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection later this month. Rivera is currently working on a master’s degree in sports management.

On the field, Rivera has been a three-year starter at linebacker, recording 90 tackles as sophomore, 96 as a junior and 64 through 10 games this season. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors as both a sophomore and junior and was a Butkus Award Watch List selection in 2007 as well.

He is one of just two defensive players – along with linebacker Quin Harris of Louisiana Tech – to make the list.

The trophy is being presented for the fourth time this year. Previous winners include Rudy Niswanger of LSU in 2005, Joel Penton of Ohio State in 2006 and Paul Smith of Tulsa last year.

The award 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.

The winner of the award will be announced on December 9. The trophy will be presented to the winner at the All Sports Association Banquet in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Feb. 20, 2009.

2008 Wuerffel Trophy Finalists

Tim Tebow, junior, quarterback, Florida

Austin Starr, senior, place kicker, Indiana

Mike Rivera, senior, linebacker, Kansas

Tim Masthay, senior, kicker, Kentucky

Quin Harris, senior, linebacker, Louisiana Tech

Chase Daniel, senior, quarterback, Missouri

Todd Peterson, senior, wide receiver, Nebraska

Justin Paysinger, senior, center, San Jose State

Graham Harrell, senior, quarterback, Texas Tech

Will Chambliss, senior, offensive lineman, Troy

Travis Dekker, senior, tight end, Air Force

Louie Sakoda, senior, punter/place kicker, Utah

Tim Hiller, junior, quarterback, Western Michigan.