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Iowa Football

Finally! An award (uh, maybe) for college football long snappers

Out of anonymity and into the spotlight ... or not

Iowa Hawkeyes long snapper Tyler Kluver (97) dives to the 2-yard line after an 18-yard catch for a first down on a faked field goal against Ohio State in Iowa’s 55-24 win at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 4, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes long snapper Tyler Kluver (97) dives to the 2-yard line after an 18-yard catch for a first down on a faked field goal against Ohio State in Iowa’s 55-24 win at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 4, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

I shun college football award watch lists. Until now.

The lists come out in July. You in the civilian world can avoid them. In my job, it’s not as easy with email and such.

For one thing, anybody can give a college football award. The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. It’s given to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

The Wuerffel watch list had 105 players last July, including Josey Jewell of Iowa and Jake Campos of Iowa State. Courtney Love of Kentucky won it. A more-famous Courtney Love was pleased that Kentucky’s Courtney Love was one of 42 players on the Lott Trophy watch list (along with Jewell) last year.

An award’s summer watch list throws dozens of names from around the nation together, and the publicity departments of those schools’ athletic military-industrial complexes share them with the public to prove their players are first-rate.

Beef Bullington of Guam A&M is one of 80 players on the preseason watch list for the Cecil B. DeMille Award for most-dramatic zone-blocker. That sort of thing.

There were 16 such lists that released its names last July, and that number will be topped this year. I know this, because on Monday I learned of a new one to me.

Finally, there’s a college football watch list to love. It’s the David Binn Award, given to the nation’s top long snapper. It’s a new award. But who is giving it? I can’t tell. Is it legitimate? That’s in the eye of the beholder. Are any awards legitimate?

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Iowa State’s Steve Wirtel is on the Binn list. Which marked the first time I’d heard of Steve Wirtel. Or Binn, for that matter.

That’s not written to demean Wirtel, a junior-to-be from Mount Carmel, Ill. Long snappers, or deep snappers if you prefer, are the most-unsung of all unsung football players. But if they aren’t pinpoint, placekicking and punting immediately become unfortunate adventures and teams lose games they could have won.

Wirtel has handled all long-snapping for Cyclone punts last year, and has never fouled up. That’s a pretty good record.

But how someone can compare and contrast Wirtel with 47 other long snappers, I’ll never know or want to know. Wes Farnsworth of Nevada might be better, might not. Ditto Johnny Den Bleyker of UCLA.

One long snapper was taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. That, of course, was Hunter Bradley of Mississippi State, selected by the Green Bay Packers. So he’ll be a Packer snapper. Which, coincidentally, is also a fish found in the waters of northern Wisconsin.

Iowa didn’t place a player on the Binn list. Its long snapper last season, Tyler Kluver, was a senior. He was good at his job, but will forever be known for his 18-yard catch against Ohio State on a fake field goal.

Oh, about David Binn. He was an NFL long snapper for 18 seasons. He once dated Pamela Anderson.

I can’t find a website for the David Binn Award. There is a Twitter account. It had 235 followers as of 10 a.m., Monday.

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I haven’t seen any of the universities’ athletic military-industrial complexes refer to this award. So until presented evidence to the contrary, I proclaim this award either a spoof or the work of one person with a deep love for deep snapping.

Thus, I love it and consider it the most-meaningful honor in all of college football. Good luck to Wirtel and the 47 players on the Binn Award watch list.

Oh, since I typed this the Binn Award Twitter account added two more followers to get to 237. This thing is getting bigger by the moment.

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