DALLAS (FWAA) Oklahoma's Nic Harris has been
nominated for the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to
be announced at the end of the 2007 season. Harris, a junior free
safety, grew up with an unstable home life, but has taken a leadership
and mentoring role with area schoolchildren.
Born to young parents who were unable to care for him, Harris
shuttled from house to house throughout his childhood in Alexandria,
La. "I didn't have a bed to really call my own for a good part of
my life," Harris told The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City.
But Harris didn't survive. He thrived. Now, he is president of
Bridge Builders, a minority community service organization that
participates in several projects in the Norman/Oklahoma City area.
He has worked with Toys for Tots as well as other programs, but
enjoys mentoring kids the most.
"An idle mind is the worst thing a child can have," Harris said.
"I feel as easy as the Lord gave it to you, He'll take it way. You
should always give back to the community. I'm not personally able
to give back to the community of Alexandria, La., but I'm just going
to try to make an impact in the area I'm in."
Harris is on track to earn a degree in physical therapy. He has
started every game at free safety for the Sooners. He ranks second
on the team with 51 tackles and two interceptions.
For the second straight year, the Football Writers Association
of America and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce a
weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel
will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of
the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December
and be presented with the trophy.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer
Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. A select group of writers
from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for
nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including
overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster
or living through hardship.
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are Clemson's Ray
Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis'
Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's
William Bratton (2002).
Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 309-member, primarily
volunteer organization that exists as a self-sustaining, independent
organization supporting and producing activities and events which
enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. Among the
OBCs core events are the Orange Bowl Festival, FedEx Orange Bowl
and Orange Bowl Halftime Show, the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball
Classic, the WaMu Orange Bowl Fan Fest presented by the City of
Miami, the Budweiser Orange Bowl Tailgate Party, Orange Bowl Youth
Football Championships, Orange Bowl Cheer & Dance Championships,
Orange Bowl Swim Classic, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships
and Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series.
For more information on the 2007-08 Orange Bowl Festival and
its year-round schedule of events and promotions, log on to orangebowl.org,
the official site for all Orange Bowl Committee news, tickets and
apparel. The website also offers information on event tickets, the
Orange Bowl Travel Network and experiencing the Orange Bowl Festival
as a volunteer through the Ambassador Program.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit
organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 men and
women across North America who cover college football for a living.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists,
as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game.
The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations,
major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.
2007 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 12: Brian Kajiyama, Hawaii
Sept. 19: Terry Clayton, Kentucky
Sept. 26: Danny Langsdorf, Oregon State
Oct. 3: Lester Karlin, Virginia Tech
Oct. 10: Zerbin Singleton, Navy
Oct. 17: Ben Mauk, Cincinnati
Oct. 24: Nic Harris, Oklahoma
Oct. 31: Marcus Smith, New Mexico
Nov. 7: Keegan Herring, Arizona State