Big Ten Announces Humanitarian and Leadership Awards

by | Nov 21, 2018 | RRSN News | 0 comments

Indiana’s Antwaan Randle El and Wisconsin’s Jake Wood chosen to receive Big Ten Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Awards

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Indiana’s Antwaan Randle El is this year’s recipient of the Big Ten’s Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, while Wisconsin’s Jake Wood will receive the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, the conference announced Wednesday. These awards recognize Big Ten football students who have achieved success in the areas of leadership and humanitarianism following their academic and athletic careers at a Big Ten university.

Randle El was a four-year letterwinner as a quarterback at Indiana from 1997-2001, earning first-team All-America honors and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in 1998 while also claiming All-Big Ten accolades three times.

Randle El went on to enjoy a successful career in the National Football League (NFL), playing 10 seasons for two clubs, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who chose him in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He was a Super Bowl XL champion and was the first wide receiver in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.

In 2010, Randle El and his brother Curtis Randle El established The EL Foundation, which strives to provide life-changing opportunities for underserved children and their families across the country. The EL Foundation consistently provides and implements enrichment and recreational programs, camps and opportunities to support, encourage, develop and empower exceptional and successful young men and women. In addition, Randle El co-founded the Virginia Academy in 2013, where he serves as Athletic Director and Basketball Coach.

Wood maintained a double major in political science and real estate at Wisconsin, while he earned two letters as an offensive lineman for the Badgers from 2001-04. Wood graduated in 2005 and joined the Marine Corps, where he spent four years completing tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wood graduated at the top of his class from the Scout-Sniper Basic Course and was the recipient of the Jim Gulardi Award. In 2007, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” for valor in the face of the enemy.

After being honorably discharged from the Marines in 2009, Wood and fellow Marine William McNulty organized a group of veterans, first responders and medical workers to respond to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which became known as Team Rubicon.

Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible. Since its inception eight years ago, Team Rubicon has raised more than $94.74 million in donations, responded to more than 300 disasters in 19 countries and has more than 90,000 volunteers. In 2018, Wood was honored with the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYS for his work with Team Rubicon.

The Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Awards are part of the Big Ten’s annual awards program. The Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award is named for Michigan’s Gerald Ford and Iowa’s Nile Kinnick. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award is named for Minnesota’s Tony Dungy and Indiana’s Anthony Thompson. For more information on these awards, including biographical information on the namesakes, visit

Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award Recipients

2011: Archie Griffin, OSU

2012: Jon Runyan, MICH

2013: Gene Washington, MSU

2014: Mike Hopkins, ILL

2015: Brian Griese, MICH

2016: Reggie McKenzie, MICH

2017: Troy Vincent, WIS

2018: Antwaan Randle El, IND

Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award Recipients

2011: George Taliaferro, IND

2012: Chris Spielman, OSU

2013: Drew Brees, PUR

2014: Brian Griese, MICH

2015: John Shinsky, MSU

2016: Trent Green, IND

2017: Chad Greenway, IOWA

2018: Jake Wood, WIS

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