DALLAS (FWAA) – Utah's Antoine "Shaky" Smithson
is the weekly nominee for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage
Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Smithson, a
junior receiver-running back from Baltimore, has become legal guardian
for his 15-year-old brother Anthony.
Shaky Smithson, 22, the oldest of seven siblings, grew up in
a rough part of Baltimore. He carried a 3.2 grade-point average
at East Los Angeles Community College and graduated in three semesters.
Shortly after enrolling last February at Utah, he began the process
of taking custody of his younger brother.
"It is a big responsibility," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told
SI.com. "But if you know Shaky, he's a very responsible kid; he's
very mature. Once he laid it out for me and explained the situation
it sounded to me like he was doing the right thing."
Smithson applied for and received a waiver from the NCAA to allow
extra benefits. Anthony joined him in Salt Lake City last June;
the Smithsons became the fourth family to gain such a waiver (former
Courage Award winner Ray Ray McElrathbey of Clemson was the first).
"I can think of no more responsible act," Rev. France Davis,
pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City and a member
of the Smithsons' support team, told the Salt Lake Tribune. "What
he's doing is stepping up and saying, ‘I'm going to do the right
thing. I've given myself a chance. Now I want my brother to have
a chance, too.'"
Shaky credits his parents and a basketball coach at Frederick
Douglass High School for keeping him out of trouble. He said he
learned from others' mistakes and wanted to help his younger brother
avoid temptation, as well.
"I don't want to be just helping myself," Shaky told SI.com.
"I want to be helping everybody else so that it's not just me that's
being successful, it's a lot of other people being successful."
Smithson has nine catches for 56 yards and is averaging 23.5
yards per kickoff return.
the fourth 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 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 Tulsa's Wilson
Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton (2007), 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
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 330-member,
primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent
organization that supports and produces activities and events that
enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida . The Orange
Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating
with the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 5, 2010. In 2013, the OBC
will again double-host both the FedEx Orange Bowl and the BCS National
Championship. Other OBC core events include the MetroPCS Orange
Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, Orange
Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing
Regatta Series. For more information on the 2009-10 Orange Bowl
Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities
through the Ambassador Program, log on to
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,100 men and women 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 gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
2009 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 23: D.J. Williams, Arkansas
• Sept. 30: Mark Herzlich, Boston College
• Oct. 7: Darius Nall, UCF
• Oct. 14: Ricky Rosas, USC
• Oct. 21: Derrick Coleman, UCLA
• Oct. 28: Connecticut Huskies
• Nov. 4: Antoine "Shaky" Smithson, Utah
• Nov. 11: Dan Potokar, Ohio State
• Nov. 18: Thomas "Rock" Roggeman, East Carolina