Daniel Orcutt wasn’t supposed to, but between all the ceremonies, tours, meet and greets and plane rides he’s had in the past couple of days, the Fort Walton Beach High School senior couldn’t help but crash in his New York City hotel room on Saturday afternoon.
Thankfully for Orcutt it was just a brief nap, and just a few hours later he was seated at the PlayStation Theater in the heart of Times Square in a room full of sporting A-listers. Former Heisman Trophy winners. NFL Hall of Famers. College football stars.
Orcutt, the Vikings’ swimmer, was recognized Saturday night at college football’s Heisman Trophy ceremony as the male recipient of the 2016 Wendy’s Heisman — an award given annually to the “most esteemed high school scholar-athletes who share Wendy’s values of giving back to their communities, treating people with respect, continuing education and excelling on the athletic field.”
“Everybody out here is amazing,” Orcutt said in a phone conversation. “Whoever they would have picked to win, it would have been like splitting hairs. Everybody who’s out here deserves it.
“It’s amazing (to have won). It’s indescribable to say I’ve been chosen as the top male scholar athlete out of however many (thousand) people applied. It’s incredible.”
For his accomplishment, Orcutt — who recently committed to swim at the University of Kentucky — won a $10,000 college scholarship, a Wendy’s High School Heisman Trophy, a Wendy’s High School Heisman National Winner patch and a $500 Wendy’s gift card.
Orcutt flew into New York on Friday morning from Columbus, Ohio, where he competed in a junior national swimming meet. Though he missed some of the New York City tour the other nine Wendy’s Heisman finalists received, he did arrive in time to see Times Square and go to Battery Park.
On Saturday, he skated in the rink at Rockefeller Center, watched The Rockettes perform and toured the top of 30 Rock.
Said Orcutt, even though he awoke from the afternoon nap, “I’m still on cloud nine.”