USC Digest

Gilbreath nominated for CLASS Award

USC All-American senior guard Briana Gilbreath has already received plenty of accolades for the work she does on the court. Now she’s being recognized for what she does in the classroom and community, too.

Gilbreath has been nominated as one of 30 candidates for Lowe’s Senior Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School Award.

The award honors a senior with notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition, according to the award’s website

Gilbreath boasts a 3.11 GPA and was selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic second team for the 2010-2011 season, according to a press release.

The Texas native has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Dribble for a Cure, Relay for Life and many other community organizations in her time at USC.

Gilbreath also serves as vice president of Fresh Faith, a Christian student organization she helped found that provides outreach, fellowship and events on campus.

Last season the senior captain became the first member of the women’s basketball team to be named an Associated Press All-American since 1997. Gilbreath was selected as an honorable mention.

The two-time All-Pac-10 selection became the 22nd player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points while leading USC in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks as a junior.

In January, a national media committee will select 10 finalists from the list of 30 candidates.

Those 10 players will be voted on by fans, coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award, which will be announced at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in April.

—Will Laws

Barkley nominated for Wuerffel award

Just one day after being named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week — the third such honor this year and fourth of his career — junior quarterback Matt Barkley was named a finalist for the 2011 Wuerffel Award, given to the player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding athletic and academic achievement.

The award, presented by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was first awarded in 2005 and is named after Danny Wuerffel, a former Heisman Trophy winner who led Florida to the 1996 national championship.

After a six-year NFL career, Wuerffel was praised for his community service and humanitarianism across the country.

Wuerffel expressed his satisfaction with the list of finalists.

“Once again, I’m amazed at the quality of character and accomplishments we have in our finalists,” Wuerffel said in a statement.  “These young men have succeeded both on and off the field in extraordinary ways.  It’s going to be a tough process for the selection committee to pick a winner.”

For Barkley, the announcement serves as just another in a list of awards he is included on.  The junior signal-caller has lead USC into a three-way tie atop the Pac-12 South standings and has enjoyed his finest season since arriving on campus in 2009.

This season Barkley has put up career highs across the board.  His 28 touchdown passes through nine games already rank as 17th on the Pac-12 single-season list, and last Friday he broke his own USC record with six touchdown passes against Colorado.

These stellar numbers and inspiring leadership have earned him the honor of being one of the semifinalists for both the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s best player, and the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s best quarterback.

A starter since his freshman year, he currently ranks fourth on USC’s career completions list and total offense list.

In 33 starts, he has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 29 games and has thrown for at least 200 yards in 22 career games.


—Nick Selbe