Three Pitt Football Players on Wuerffel Trophy Watch List

PITTSBURGH – Pitt running back James Conner, offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty and linebacker Mike Caprara are among 88 players from across the nation to be named to the watch list for the venerated Wuerffel Trophy, which annually honors college football’s top community servant.

(Photo of James Conner. Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel of Florida, this award is presented each year to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

All products of western Pennsylvania, Conner, Bisnowaty and Caprara made Pitt the only program in the country with three watch-list selections for this year’s Wuerffel Trophy. Each member of the trio has gone above and beyond in his respective community service output since arriving at the University of Pittsburgh – all while excelling on the football field for the Panthers.

Conner, the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, has been extremely active in his charitable efforts prior to and since being cleared of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May. The running back was recently the guest of honor at a charity dinner organized by Dr. Stanley Marks that raised over $400,000 for cancer research, and Conner regularly visits and communicates with children going through similar adversities to what he faced.

Even prior to his own cancer diagnosis, Conner was named to the prestigious 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team as a result of his volunteer contributions with the Mel Blount Youth Home, humanitarian organization World Vision, the National Kidney Foundation as well as Children’s Hospital, where he has handed out his game-used gloves as gifts to young patients.

Bisnowaty, a product of nearby Fox Chapel, Pa., has consistently been one of Pitt’s most prolific student-athlete participants in community service over the past several years. The 2015 first team All-ACC selection and man responsible for protecting the blind side of Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman engages with numerous local organizations, including Children’s Hospital, Beth Shalom Congregation and the Pittsburgh Public Schools. He has also worked with Read Across America and Christmas at Pitt while serving as an ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

And Woodland Hills, Pa., native Caprara, one of Pitt’s most improved players last season after tallying 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, takes an equally impressive pride in his community service, which has featured four trips to Haiti with Pitt’s Coalition of Christian Outreach to teach, interact with and provide assistance to local children in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The three Pitt candidacies for the 2016 Wuerffel Trophy also marked one-fifth of the ACC’s total representation; the ACC led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the watch list.

Voting for the Wuerffel Trophy is performed by a National Selection Committee that includes college football television and print media, industry notables, former head coaches and prior Wuerffel Trophy recipients.

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