Since they touch the football on almost every play, quarterbacks are used to being the center of attention. When their teams are successful, they tend to receive individual accolades more frequently than their teammates. Most are quick to share credit, and some go the extra mile to show their appreciation. But few go as far as University of St. Francis quarterback Jeff Wedding, who displayed uncommon selflessness following an important postseason victory last fall. After the Cougars’ 30-27 victory in the NAIA quarterfinals, Jeff was named Offensive Player of the Game for his two-touchdown performance. But he felt the efforts of kicker Rhys Barnhart, who kicked three field goals – including the game-winner moments earlier – were more deserving of recognition. Not wanting to draw further attention to himself, Jeff quietly slipped the award into Rhys’ duffle bag. Tipped off by teammates, Rhys found the trophy and tried to give it back. Jeff insisted that the placekicker keep the award, citing the historic nature of the school’s first ever game-winning field goal. Though extraordinary given the circumstances, Jeff’s selfless act was not out of character. A junior from Kendalville, Ind., he carries a 3.9 GPA and was the only NAIA player named to the 2007 ESPN The MagazineAcademic All-District 5 Football Team. As an all-state high school player, Jeff received the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award after leading his team to the state championship game.
Jeff is the recipient of the NAIA’s “All That’s Right in Sport” award.