Joe Dineen Jr., included as 2017 Preseason Wuerffel Trophy watch list is announced
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Fresh off of organizing and taking part in the first-ever “Cole’s Christmas in July,” Kansas redshirt junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., was named to the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list Tuesday morning. The Wuerffel Trophy honors college football’s top community servant.
Dineen is just that. Inspired by the loss of Cole Hayden, son of Shanda Hayden—Associate Athletics Director for Academic and Career Counseling, to undifferentiated sarcoma, Dineen has devoted many of his hours away from football and academics to raising awareness for childhood cancer.
On Saturday, July 15, Dineen some of his teammates donated toys to Children’s Mercy Hospital in honor of Cole Hayden. In the first year of what is hoped to become an annual event, the toys donated are toys that were gifted to Hayden during his hospital stays. Dineen would like the event to become an annual outing for the KU football team, with the future gifts coming from a toy drive the football team will host.
In addition to planning “Cole’s Christmas in July,” Dineen visited Hayden at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City several times in 2016, and also shaved his head along with a group of teammates in support of Hayden during his battle with the cancer. He has participated in the Hilltop Hustle 5K—in which all proceeds were donated to Children’s Mercy Hospital in honor of Hayden—and he also took part in a local baseball game that raised funds for childhood cancer research.
In addition to all of his work with childhood cancer awareness, Dineen has also made time to volunteer with several other activities, including Sack Lunch with Just Food, Salvation Army holiday bell ringing, Special Olympic football clinic and reading at Lawrence elementary schools.
Not only is Dineen a star when it comes to serving his community, but he is also a force to be reckoned with from his linebacker position. Prior to his season-shortening injury in the third game of 2016, Dineen had accumulated 16 tackles and 3.0 stops behind the line-of-scrimmage. When fully healthy as a sophomore in 2015, Dineen wrapped up 86 tackles – good for second on the team. He also logged 10 or more tackles in four games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers, Dineen tallied a team-season-best 16 stops.
The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented annually by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach Florida. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Dineen is one of six Jayhawks who have been named to preseason watch lists. Junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., (Bednarik, Nagurski, Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Preseason All-Big 12 First Team [media, Athlon Sports], Preseason All-America Third Team [Athlon Sports]), senior tight end Ben Johnson (Mackey), sophomore center Mesa Ribordy (Rimington), junior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., (Biletnikoff) and senior wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (Hornung) join Dineen as KU players who have received recognition. Additionally, Dineen is also a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
Kansas will begin the 2017 season on Saturday, September 2 with a home game against Southeast Missouri State. The Jayhawks will also host nonconference opponent Central Michigan (Sept. 9/Family Weekend, Band Day).
Five Big 12 rivals will visit Lawrence, including West Virginia (Sept. 23/Jayhawks for a Cure), Texas Tech (Oct. 7/Homecoming, K-Club Weekend), Kansas State (Oct. 28/Sunflower Showdown), Baylor (Nov. 4/Salute to Service) and Oklahoma (Nov. 18/Senior Day, Youth Football Day).
Season tickets for the seven-game home schedule are now on sale for as low as $110. Pick 3 Flex Pack ticket packages are also available for the 2017 season. As part of the Pick 3 Flex Pack offer fans have the chance to pick any three home games on the 2017 schedule for one low price. Select a Tier 1 ticket for any three home games for $180 or a Tier 2 ticket to any three home games for just $150.
For additional information regarding Kansas football tickets contact the Kansas Sales Team by calling 800-34-HAWKS or in-person at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket office. Tickets can also be purchased via KUTickets.com.
Kansas Athletics will also be offering group discounts and unique fan experiences to Kansas football games for any group, business or organization of 15+. To inquire about bringing your group to Memorial Stadium, please contact the Group Sales Department at 785-864-6221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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