DALLAS (FWAA) – South Alabama's
James is the weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA
Courage Award that will be announced at the end of the season. James,
a linebacker from New Orleans, has overcome a premature birth –
doctors believed he would be mentally disabled and would never learn
to walk – to play college football. The 6-2, 235-pound senior,
a backup at middle linebacker, has already earned his degree.
James was born four months premature; weighing less than a pound,
he fit into his mother's hand. "They said that I was going to be
retarded, that I wasn't going to walk or talk," James told The Press-Register
of Mobile, Ala. "Now, I'm one of the smartest guy son the defense.
I have a great family that has provided me with everything that
I needed." Doctors credited, among other things, his mother's constant
care for her infant son.
James' mother Valorie has undergone two brain surgeries, most
recently when he was a high school senior, to correct blood flow
and to remove a tumor. But she has rarely missed any of her son's
"If I can say one word about that guy, it's 'perseverance,'"
South Alabama linebackers coach Travis Pearson told the newspaper.
"... His story is unbelievable, from where he's come from."
For the eighth straight year, the Football Writers Association
of America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce weekly nominees
during the season. A blue-ribbon panel of FWAA members will determine
the winner from all of the nominees.
Courage Award was created by ESPN's senior columnist 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
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are Clemson wide
receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman
Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010),
the University of Connecticut football team (2009), 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 is a 351-member, primarily-volunteer
non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South
Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule
of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3,
2014. Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange
Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented
by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships,
Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic
and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the
2013-14 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer
opportunities through the Ambassador Program, visit www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football.
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.
2013 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 25: Eric Fieilo, San Houston State
• Oct. 2: Gabe Woullard, East Carolina
Oct. 9: Bryson James, South Alabama
Oct. 16: Anthony Larceval, San José State
Oct. 23: Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech
Oct. 30: L'Damian Washington, Missouri
Nov. 6: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
Nov. 13: Case McCoy, Texas
Nov. 20: Coaching Staff, Minnesota
Orange Bowl Courage Award