EXINGTON – University of Kentucky football senior punter Landon Foster has been impressively consistent the past three years for the Wildcats and his work off the field has been just as remarkable totaling numerous hours of community service, leading Foster to the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, which annually honors college football’s top community servant, it was announced Wednesday.
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, Fla. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the Football Bowl Subdivision player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2015 watch list. Following the ACC is the Big-12 with 10 players, the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt with nine each, the Southeastern Conference and the PAC-12 with eight each, the Big 10 and Conference-USA with five each, and the Mid-American Conference and Mountain West following with four each.
All FBS conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives Notre Dame and United States Military Academy (Army) with two and one nominees, respectively. There are 13 nominees who were underclassmen in 2014 that are rejoining the watch list again this year.
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. Semifinalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 3 and finalists will be announced on Nov. 24. Formal announcement of the winner will be on Dec. 8 at the National Football Foundation’s press conference in New York City.
Last year, Foster was chosen to represent UK football in a week-long service trip to Ethiopia, where he interacted with residents of impoverished communities, visited imprisoned men, helped widows, cared for orphans and helped renovate houses.
The native of Franklin, Tenn., was so moved by the experience he returned to Kentucky and started sponsoring Dejene, a 16-year-old boy who he befriended on the streets of Ethiopia. He sent money for four months to help pay for Dejene’s food, clothing, shelter and schooling until he was adopted by a family in the United States.
On top of his work overseas, Foster has been active in his local community as well, volunteering at the Indian Summer Camp, which is a cancer survivor camp for kids ages 6-18 and spending time at local elementary schools. Foster has also volunteered to help UK students move into their dorms on move-in day, packed backpacks for “Bucks for Backpacks” program, sorted food at God’s Pantry Foodbank, took blankets to Kentucky Children’s Hospital and served “Breakfast with Santa” during Christmas break, helping Santa pass out presents.
Most recently, Foster volunteered at UK’s largest student-run philanthropy, DanceBlue, which raised more than $1.1 million for pediatric cancer research.
In the classroom, Foster has a cumulative 4.0 GPA as a double major in finance and marketing. Foster, who was named an Academic All-American by College Sports Information Directors of America last December, was the 20th player in Kentucky history to earn academic All-America honors since 1971. Foster was UK’s first CoSIDA Academic All-America selection since Tim Masthay was tabbed a second-team honoree in 2007 and a first-team selection in 2008.
Foster punted 66 times in 2014, for a 42.6 yard average, including a career-long 60 yard punt at No. 22 Louisville in the season finale. Foster owns 195 punts in his career, with a 42.2 yard average, ranking third in UK history. Foster tied the school record with 27 punts dropped inside the 20-yard line in 2014 and owns 55 punts downed inside the 20 in his career. He also has 39 career punts of at least 50 yards.