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Conner, Bisnowaty, Caprara placed on Wuerffel Trophy watch list - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Conner, Bisnowaty, Caprara placed on Wuerffel Trophy watch list

RB+James+Conner+is+one+of+three+Panthers+on+the+Wuerffel+Trophy+watch+list.+Meghan+Sunners+%7C+Senior+Staff+Photographer
RB James Conner is one of three Panthers on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list. Meghan Sunners | Senior Staff Photographer

RB James Conner is one of three Panthers on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list. Meghan Sunners | Senior Staff Photographer

RB James Conner is one of three Panthers on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list. Meghan Sunners | Senior Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein / Sports Editor

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The Pitt Panthers had three players selected to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list Wednesday, the most representatives of any school in the country.

Junior running back James Conner, senior offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty and senior linebacker Mike Caprara were all named preseason candidates for the Wuerffel Trophy, named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel.

The Wuerffel Trophy is given annually to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Conner, the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, is attempting to make a triumphant return to the field this season after tearing his MCL in the 2015 season opener. On Thanksgiving Day, his recovery was cut short when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The All-American running back volunteered at the National Kidney Foundation, the Mel Blount Youth Home and various children’s hospitals in Pittsburgh long before his cancer diagnosis. While undergoing treatment at the Hillman Cancer Center, he interacted with and uplifted other patients.

After his doctor, Stanley Marks, informed him that he was cancer free May 23, Conner immediately agreed to speak the next morning at a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania. He was also the guest of honor at a charity dinner organized by Marks that raised more than $400,000 for cancer research.

A native of Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, Bisnowaty has been a standout on and off the field during his time at Pitt.

After finishing first team All-ACC last year, Bisnowaty was named a preseason candidate for the Outland Trophy Friday. He engages with numerous local organizations, including Children’s Hospital, Beth Shalom Congregation and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Caprara, a native of Woodland Hills, Pennsylvania, had a breakout season last year.

The linebacker racked up 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, and interception and a fumble recovery in 2015. Among his contributions off the field, he has taken four trips to Haiti with Pitt’s Coalition of Christian Outreach to interact with impoverished children.

Pitt’s three candidates for the 2016 Wuerffel Trophy comprise one-fifth of the ACC’s 15 representatives, the most of any conference.

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Conner, Bisnowaty, Caprara placed on Wuerffel Trophy watch list