Wuerffel speaking at Eglin Air Force Base
in February 2009.
No. 7, 17
|Date of birth:May 27, 1974|
|Place of birth: Fort Walton Beach, Florida|
|High school: Fort Walton Beach High School|
|NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99|
|Debuted in 1997 for the New Orleans Saints|
|Last played in 2002 for the Washington Redskins|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2002
Daniel Carl Wuerffel (born May 27, 1974) is an American former college and professional football quarterback who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy and the 1996 national football championship while playing college football for the University of Florida. After graduating from Florida, he played for four National Football League (NFL) teams, and retired from professional football in 2002. Since then, Wuerffel has led a non-profit organization engaged in Christian mission and charitable work in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. In 2013, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
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, he and his family 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 No. 2 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 (SEC) titles between 1993 and 1996. 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 the century's top Gator offensive player by the Sun, and was listed as a member of the Florida Gators 100th Anniversary Team in 2006.
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 thirty-nine 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.
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.
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. As part of a series of articles written for The Gainesville Sun in 2006, he was recognized as No. 1 among the top 100 players from the first 100 years of Gators football.
Career statistics at Florida
Most Pass Attempts
- Career : 1,169
- Season : 360 (1996)
- Game : 50 (1993) at Auburn
Most Pass Completions
- Career : 708
- Season : 210 (1995)
- Game : 29 (1995) vs. Tennessee
Most Pass Yards
- Career : 10,875
- Season : 3,625 (1996)
- Game : 462 (1996) vs. Arkansas
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. After playing a single season for each of the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins, Wuerffel retired. One highlight of his professional career was winning the MVP award in World Bowl 2000 while playing for Rhein Fire in NFL Europa, the Fire winning by 13–10 over the Scottish Claymores.
Life after the NFL
Wuerffel began work at Desire Street Ministries, a non-profit, faith-based, organization focusing on spiritual and community development in areas of New Orleans. He also speaks to college groups, such as the University of Florida Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In 2004, Wuerffel co-authored a book called Tales from the Gator Swamp, in which he covers his college football career.
The All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach created the Wuerffel Trophy in his honor in 2005. It is awarded annually to the athlete who best exemplifies his character and on the field play. A small stretch of road between the Mid-Bay Bridge and Highway 98 in Destin has been dedicated as "Danny Wuerffel Way" by the Florida state legislature.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wuerffel's New Orleans home and the Desire Street Ministries facilities. He drew national attention with his efforts to rebuild Desire Street Ministries and New Orleans.
- 1995 College Football All-America Team
- 1996 College Football All-America Team
- Florida Gators
- Florida Gators football, 1990–99
- List of Chicago Bears players
- List of Division I FBS passing touchdown leaders
- List of Division I FBS passing yardage leaders
- List of Florida Gators football All-Americans
- List of Florida Gators football players
- List of Green Bay Packers players
- List of Heisman Trophy winners
- List of New Orleans Saints players
- List of SEC Most Valuable Players
- List of University of Florida alumni
- List of Washington Redskins players
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Danny Wuerffel. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- databaseFootball.com, Players, Danny Wuerffel. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 83, 86, 88, 93, 97, 99, 100–103, 125, 158, 159, 162, 173, 186 (2011). Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- Sports-Reference.com, College Football, 1996 Heisman Trophy Voting. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
- 2012 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, pp. 10 & 14 (2012). Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- "NCAA Quarterback of the Year". Touchdown Club of Columbus. April 6, 2009.
- "SPORTS PEOPLE: COLLEGE FOOTBALL;Florida's Wuerffel Spurns Playboy Honor". The New York Times. May 10, 1996.
- F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- Robbie Andreu, "Wuerffel, Doering to enter UF Hall," Ocala Star-Banner (April 21, 2006). Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 1 Danny Wuerffel," The Gainesville Sun (September 2, 2006). Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1997 National Football League Draft. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- National Football League, Historical Players, Danny Wuerffel. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- Pat Dooley, "Wuerffel leaves hospital after treatment for nervous system disorder," The Gainesville Sun (June 15, 2011). Retrieved June 15, 2011.
- Ivan Maisel, "Heisman trio highlight Class of 2013," ESPN (May 7, 2013). Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "NFF Proudly Announces Stellar 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class," National Football Foundation (May 7, 2013). Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
- Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
- Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
- McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
- Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com • ESPN • CBS Sports • Yahoo! Sports • SI.com • Pro-Football-Reference • Rotoworld
- Danny Wuerffel at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Danny Wuerffel at the Heisman Trophy
- Desire Street Ministries – Official website of Desire Street Ministries