Austin Ajiake makes plays all over the field on Saturdays for the UNLV football team.
The senior linebacker, who ranks sixth in the nation with 87 tackles, does exactly the same thing in the classroom — and also the community.
That’s why Ajiake was one of just 101 players nationwide to make it on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List unveiled this week by award organizers.
Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the University of Florida, Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy is presented each February. The trophy exists to honor college football players who serve others, celebrate their positive impact on society, and inspire greater service in the world.
“I am inspired to learn about the wonderful work that so many of today’s student-athletes are doing in their communities to make a significant impact on those around them,” Wuerffel said in a statement. “The number and diverse types of organizations and reach this 2022 class of Wuerffel Trophy nominees reaches is greater than we’ve ever seen.”
Ajiake, a Fremont, California, native and graduate of Bellarmine Prep, currently leads the Mountain West Conference in tackles — 17 more than the next player — and his 10.9 takedowns per-game average ranks sixth in the nation. Ajiake is also tied for the team lead with three quarterback sacks and ranks second with two interceptions. The all-conference candidate was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26 after helping the Rebels to a 34-24 road win at Utah State. Ajiake had 11 tackles, including one for a loss, and an interception in the contest.
Currently pursuing his master’s degree in urban leadership, Ajiake is a seven-time member of the UNLV Dean’s Honor List, was voted 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District, is a two-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and a four-time Academic All-MW honoree. His list of community service includes participating in the department’s Bed Build Day, a unique effort that saw more than 100 beds built by volunteers in conjunction with Sleep in Heavenly Peace to benefit local youth in need.
Nominations for the Wuerffel Trophy are made by the respective universities’ sports information departments. Semifinalists will be announced November 1 and finalists will be announced November 29. The formal announcement of the 2022 recipient will be made December 8 and the presentation of the 2022 award will occur in February 2023 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
For a complete list of 2022 Wuerffel Trophy nominations, please CLICK HERE.