By: Seth Stringer - nwfdailynews.com
Jon Wassink is a busy man these days.
Between flying to New York City for the Campbell Trophy reveal, planning a Jan. 10th wedding and prepping for Western Michigan’s bowl game on Dec. 30 against Western Kentucky, there hasn’t been much time to take a moment and reflect on the chaos.
And that was before Danny Wuerffel approached the senior quarterback Monday in the Big Apple to pile on the good news.
“He told me I was the Wuerffel Trophy winner,” Wassink said. “I was shocked. It’s just an incredible honor.”
Now Wassink is off to Atlanta for a whirlwind media tour, which culminates with The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU and ESPN3 on Thursday at 5 p.m. CST.
“It’s a lot. It’s pretty crazy,” Wassink said of the non-stop schedule. “I think I just take it one step at a time – that’s the best way to do it. I think whatever you’re doing it’s important to stay present in the moment and not look too far ahead. That way you can appreciate it more.”
The red carpet is fitting considering the lauded honor, which plucks the Football Bowl Subdivision football player who best exhibits exemplary community service. And Wassink, like the 14 Wuerffel Trophy honorees that preceded him, is Mr. Community Service.
Somehow finding time between earning a 3.95 GPA in the Haworth College of Business and playing his way into an NFL prospect, Wassink is a four-year-leader at Tree of Life (youth mentoring), leads weekly Bible studies in FCA, works with Uplifting Athletes, feeds the homeless in Kalamazoo and is a regular mentor at Indian Lake Elementary School and visitor at Bronson Children’s Hospital. He also served on a 2016 mission trip to the Dominican Republic, building and repairing infrastructure for a small community of 100 people.
“What he has done serving others off the field, along with his work in the classroom and on the playing field, represents what the Wuerffel Trophy is all about,” Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy quarterback who led Fort Walton Beach High to a state title and later Florida to a national title, said while also praising the other two finalists in Isaiah Sanders of the U.S. Air Force and Derrick Brown of Auburn.
As great as a humanitarian and Wassink may be, his on-the-field success is nothing to sneeze at.
A three-year starter at quarterback for the Broncos, Wassink was named 2019 Preseason Second All-MAC by both Athlon and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview. In leading the Broncos to an 8-4 mark, he has 2,904 passing yards and 19 touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. He also has 293 yards and three scores on the ground.
“He’s just so balanced,” Wuerffel Trophy Executive Director Tom Brassell said. “This the 15th anniversary year for us, so we wanted to highlight that as much as anything. Jon is just an outstanding representative of everything this honor stands for.”
Wassink is the second Wuerffel Trophy recipient from Western Michigan University, Tim Hiller being the first in 2009.
And Wassink also has ties to last year’s winner, San Diego Charger starting linebacker Drue Tranquill, whose little brother has roomed with Wassink all through college.
“When I was named a semifinalist, I talked to Justin a little bit about the experience and what to expect,” Wassink said.
Come Feb. 7, Wassink will take the stage at the Emerald Coast Contention Center for the 51st Annual All Sports Association Awards Banquet, which last year awarded $35,000 checks to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, the Okaloosa County chapter of Special Olympics, the Eleanor J. Johnson Youth Center and the Okaloosa/ Walton County Fellowship of Christian Athletes.