Football Writers Association of America Oct. 24, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: George Schroeder
Junior free safety now a leader in the community

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.

Nic Harris

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).

FedEx Orange Bowl Courage AwardThe 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 OBC’s 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, 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