Owls' Alderman a Wuerffel Trophy finalist

Posted: November 24, 2013

TEMPLE RECEIVER Ryan Alderman was both honored and surprised to see his name on the list of 12 finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy.

The award, named for 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.

While Alderman knew he was qualified to be nominated for such an award, he never expected his services to be noticed.

"I didn't even know I was nominated, but it's not really about the award for me," said the 5-9, 175-pound fifth-year senior from Downingtown's Bishop Shanahan High School. "That's never why I've done any of these things. That's not why I try hard in school or why I'm here to help out.

"It would mean a lot to bring it back to Temple, so that part would be cool."

Alderman first became involved in community service under former coach Al Golden. He came to recognize how rewarding helping others can really be.

"I have been involved really since I got [to Temple] in 2009," Alderman said. "It's always nice to give back; coach Golden really emphasized that when he was here. I enjoy giving back and helping those who need it."

In the last 5 years, Alderman has been involved in such community-service events as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, delivering food for a Thanksgiving turkey drive and helping youngsters improve their football skills in multiple football camps.

This past summer, Alderman volunteered at a Bensalem youth football camp where he worked with children on some basic skills.

"I really like working with the kids, because it's fun and they're crazy, which makes it interesting," Alderman said.

"They really look up to you, whether they know you play football or not, to be honest. It's cool to put a good influence on them."

On the field in his final season, Alderman is enjoying his best statistical year with the Owls. He has 401 yards on 30 catches, including his first two career touchdown receptions.

"Just everyone around me has given me a good opportunity to succeed," Alderman said. "The offense is running the ball a lot more and Connor [Reilly] at the beginning of the year and P.J. [Walker] have found me a lot when I'm open so that has really helped."

Five years after joining the Owls as a walk-on, Alderman was named one of the four team captains for the 2013 season. He also was cited as one of the nine toughest players on the team and thus earned a single-digit jersey number (4).

"I can't say enough good things about Ryan Alderman," coach Matt Rhule said. "He will be missed here. Ryan is one of the most respected players on this team. No one gives more effort and no one gets more out of what they have than he does."

Alderman is pursuing a master's degree in finance from Temple's Fox School of Business, where he accumulated a 3.59 GPA as an undergraduate.

Understanding how important it is to succeed off the field as well as on it, Alderman has put an emphasis on his scholastics and community-service work. He also has tried to engage his teammates in community service.

"We will just try to get a group of guys together and go down and help out whenever we are needed," Alderman said.

Since the Wuerffel Trophy was first awarded to LSU center Rudy Niswanger in 2005, it has been won by some high-profile players, including Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in 2008, Texas linebacker Sam Acho in 2010 and USC and current Eagles quarterback Matt Barkley in 2012.

A committee that includes the Wuerffel Trophy national directors, selection-committee members and past winners will vote on the finalists later this month. The winner will be announced Dec. 10, and presented at the All Sports Association's 45th Annual Awards Banquet on Feb. 7 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

When asked about the possibility of earning the 2013 Wuerffel Trophy, with such competition as Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, the humble Alderman kept it short and simple.

"It would be surreal, to be honest," he said. "That'd be awesome."

The other finalists, all seniors, are Duke offensive lineman Dave Harding, Minnesota kicker Chris Hawthorne, Oklahoma offensive lineman Gabe Ikard, Georgia Tech offensive lineman Will Jackson, Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam, Iowa linebacker James Morris, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, Texas-San Antonio quarterback Eric Soza, Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear and Army fullback Hayden Tippett.

On Twitter: @JohnMurrow12

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