Tom Zbikowski returns an interception for a touchdown against Tennesee in 2005.

Hoyte A Finalist For Wuerffel Trophy, Zbikowski Earns Cingular/ABC Sports Weekly Honor

Nov. 11, 2005

The University of Notre Dame football team earned more national recognition on Friday, Nov. 11. Senior LB and defensive team captain Brandon Hoyte was named a finalist for the 2005 Wuerffel Trophy, while junior S Tom Zbikowski landed the team’s third Cingular/ABC Sports All-America Player of the Week award this season.


Hoyte has been named one of 13 finalists for the 2005 Wuerffel Trophy, a national award that honors a college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement. A voting committee, which includes 10 prominent Wuerffel Trophy regional directors, will vote on the finalists and the winner will be announced later this month.

A fifth-year senior who is in his third season as a starter, Hoyte leads the seventh-ranked Irish in tackles this season with 61 stops (35 solos), including 11.5 tackles for loss (32 yards), four quarterback sacks (17 yards) and one quarterback hurry, along with two forced fumbles and three pass deflections. Hoyte has played in 45 games during his Notre Dame career, starting 23 times overall and all eight games this season. One of two team captains for the Irish this season, Hoyte has been extremely active both in the classroom and in the community. While pursuing a double major in psychology and Management from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and the Mendoza College of Business, Hoyte has twice earned Academic All-District honors.

In the community, Hoyte has served as coordinator for the Irish football team’s “Tackle The Arts” project, which helps local disadvantaged youths develop an interest in art, poetry, reading and other pursuits. He has also made numerous appearances and speeches at high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in the South Bend area to serve as a motivational speaker for children. Hoyte served as a featured speaker for the Literacy Council of St. Joseph County’s Luncheon for Literacy earlier this year and was a student associate for Notre Dame’s Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning. He also was the emcee of Notre Dame’s all-sports banquet in 2003 and has been honored by the school’s Office of Student Affairs with a Student Leadership Award. Hoyte also volunteers regularly at a local community center and hospital in South Bend.

The Wuerffel Trophy will be presented to the winner at the All Sports Association’s Awards Banquet in February.


It is certainly hard for a defensive player to get recognition when his team’s offense is averaging 474 yards and over 38 points per game and the quarterback has thrown for over 2,600 yards and 23 touchdowns. However, Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowksi earned the respect of college football fans across the country last weekend when he returned an interception and a punt, each for touchdowns, and registered a team-high nine tackles against Tennessee. For his efforts, Zbikowski on Thursday became the first-ever defensive player to be named the Cingular Wireless/ABC Sports All-America Player of the Week, the only major college football honor determined exclusively by fans.

Zbikowski, who received 50 percent of the fan vote, was one of four candidates for the All-America Player of the Week, who are selected by a panel of ABC Sports and ESPN college football analysts. The other finalists were: Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali (19%), Florida quarterback Chris Leak (18%), and North Carolina State running back Andre Brown (13%).

Zbikowski combines with Brady Quinn to earn Notre Dame’s third Cingular/ABC Sports award this season. Quinn was chosen for his efforts at Purdue (Oct. 1) and versus BYU (Oct. 22).

Previous Cingular/ABC Sports All-America Player of the Week winners this season include Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal, Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, UCLA running back Maurice Drew and Texas quarterback Vince Young.

Throughout the season, the nominees are announced Sunday morning at 9 a.m. EDT on ESPN. Then, fans have until the following Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. EDT to submit their votes via wireless text messaging.* The winner is announced every Thursday night during the first half of the ESPN Thursday Night College Football game. Fans can learn more about the award and each week’s nominees online at or at