Ty Darlington, the University of Oklahoma’s gentle giant at center, is focused on the looming College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson on New Year’s Eve. Yet away from the Orange Bowl stage, the 6-foot-3, 286-pound Florida native found himself garnering a different piece of the national spotlight Tuesday.
The Sooner senior was recognized as a humanitarian first, football player second when it was announced that Darlington the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy at the National Football Foundation’s Press Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
“We are honored to announce that Ty is the recipient of this years Wuerffel Trophy,” said Danny Wuerffel, who was on hand to present the award alongside Wuerffel Trophy Executive Director Tom Brassell. “The selfless work that he did by serving others not only in Oklahoma, but around the world as well, is really what the award is all about. We are proud to have him as part of our family of past winners.”
The nation’s premier community service award is named for the 1996 Heisman Trophy who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 national championship after taking Fort Walton Beach to a state title in 1991. Wuerffel 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.
Like Wuerffel, Darlington is no ordinary jock. On the field this year, the two-year starter has helped lead the Sooners to an 11-1 regular-season record and a No. 4 ranking headed into the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31.
Off it, his contributions have proven immeasurable. Philanthropically, Darlington has helped lead three mission trips to Haiti with Mission of Hope and has spent hundreds of hours visiting children’s hospitals. He’s also coached youth football teams and has been integral in fundraising efforts for cancer victims, tornado relief and clothing, food and toy drives.
He’s also excelled in the classroom, completing his undergraduate degree in Arts and Sciences in only 2.5 years with a 3.91 GPA to set the stage for graduate school. A member of the National Football Foundation’s 2015 Scholar-Athlete Class, Darlington is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy. He’s also the second OU player (joining OU alumnus Gabe Ikard) to win the Wuerffel Trophy.
Darlington, ever devout in his faith, will be presented with the Wuerffel Trophy at the All Sports Association’s 47th Annual Awards Banquet on Feb. 12 in Fort Walton Beach. He’ll also be interviewed on “The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show,” airing on ESPNU and ESPN3 on Thursday at 5 p.m.