DALLAS (FWAA) Virginia's Demetrious
Nicholson is this week's nominee for the 2015 Orange
Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Nicholson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound cornerback from Virginia Beach,
Va., was born to Elizabeth Nicholson, who had Demetrious when she
was 12. Nicholson also overcame the deaths of his younger sister,
Shaquanda, and of his great-grandmother, Nita Superales, who had
taken the lead in raising him.
"Football was the outlet I realized I had at an early age,"
Nicholson told ESPN.com this year. "When I faced any type of
adversity, I just kept going and didn't feel like anything could
stop me. I think back to my mom having to raise me when she was
12 and then my great-grandmother getting sick. I have this anger
type of fire inside me that motivates me and drives me in any situation
I'm in, particularly on the football field."
Elizabeth Nicholson went to high school and nursing school, working
while taking care of Demetrious and of her grandmother, Superales,
when she fell ill.
With Superales in a nursing home suffering from lupus and heart
ailments, Elizabeth, then 20, lost her 4-month-old daughter to sudden
infant death syndrome. Superales died in 2009.
Demetrius Nicholson was diagnosed with turf toe after the fifth
game of the 2013 season. After re-aggravating the injury in the
spring, he played in just one game last season, before receiving
a medical hardship waiver.
Now in his fifth season at Virginia, Nicholson has played in
seven of eight games for the Cavaliers, starting in three. He has
22 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, to go with four pass breakups
and one forced fumble. His 36 career passes defended ranks first
in the ACC among active players and sixth nationally.
Nicholson graduated in May and was the program's Allstate AFCA
Good Works Team nominee.
The Courage Award was first presented by the
Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. 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. The winner of
the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange
Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.
Previous winners of the award are Duke offensive lineman Laken
Tomlinson (2014), San Josι State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval
(2013), 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 Josι State's Neil
Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is
a 363-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
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl
on December 31, 2015. 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 2015-16 Orange Bowl events, including promotional
and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented
by Panera Bread, log on to
Follow Orange Bowl:
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015, the Football
Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs,
or to submit a nomination for this years Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage
Award, contact Steve Richardson at
2015 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 16: Bobby Swigert, Boston College
Sept. 23: Jake Olson, USC
Sept. 30: Anthony Zettel, Penn State
Oct. 7: Leonard Fournette, LSU
Oct. 14: Cheatham Norrils, Toledo
Oct. 21: J.B. Grimes, Auburn
Oct. 28: D.J. Foster, Arizona State
Nov. 4: Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia
Nov. 11: Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Nov. 18: Mitchell Meyers, Iowa State
Nov. 25: Hunter Knighton, Miami
Dec. 2: Justin Hansen, Colorado State
Capital One Orange
Bowl Courage Award